The Blade in the Angel's Shadow de Andy Darby

de Andy Darby - Género: English
libro gratis The Blade in the Angel's Shadow


Andy Darby

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I was sent the book as an advance reader copy.

A great sword & sorcery / historical fantasy novel set in the Elizabethan era with a strong female protagonist and her giant sidekick. The prologue hooked me, and the characters are totally believable and feel they have been around forever. The descriptions of the world are realistic without being overdone and provide a good window into the religion and politics of the time. Excellent fight scenes and weird, creepy sorcery keep this rattling along at a good pace. It even manages to verge into Lovecraftian horror. It feels it should be the first of a series, and I hope that it is!

Fans of Joe Abercrombie, the Solomon Kane stories of RE Howard, and even lovers of the historical fiction of Bernard Cornwell would, I think, find this an entertaining read.1 J. ElseAuthor 7 books111

Captain Lament has seen enough of wars. She returns to England to invest in a new business but ends up accused of being a Jesuit assassin and thus an enemy of the state. While awaiting trial, she is taken in the dead of night to meet Dr John Dee, Her Majesty’s astrologer. Granted witch sight after unwillingly being a part of one of Dr Dee’s rituals, Lament accompanied by Seargent at Arms Pieter Hertgers are sent to recover a map created by sea kings from a time before the great flood and a jeweled necklace. With Lament’s new sight, she sees spirits in possession men. Between the forces of order and chaos, neither Lament or Pieter can tell which side they have set upon and what this will do to their souls.

There are some occasional editorial errors, most often either missing or double quotation marks. There is one instance of pronoun confusion with “She has found himself drinking and laughing...” There are also some sections that felt they should be separated based on the amount of time that passed between one paragraph and the next, but which ran together. This created a few confusing moments of transition.

There’s plenty of action and magical intrigue that make this a page-turning adventure. Our characters must fight through battle grounds by the sword and mystical locations by their wits. Having nonmagically-inclined characters forced to solve magically life-threatening problems was a captivating aspect of the story. I enjoyed Lament’s fierce warrior point of view but wished she'd found more answers to her questions.

I will note that there aren’t any rules provided about magic use and the things that Lament is visualizing. Lament is a soldier and doesn’t have knowledge about magical laws, but she encounters enough people along the way that a few things could have been explained. The excuse “you wouldn’t understand” is what’s given, but I would challenge the author to help readers and Lament to understand a bit more of this world that’s being created and that Lament is struggling to figure out. It would help set the stakes more clearly for readers. Despite these few reservations I have mentioned, I will emphasize that this is a unique world with well-crafted characters and lore to explore.

I enjoyed the story and how it unfolded. Lament and Pieter have substance and history. It would have been interesting to explore the backstory of Dr Dee a bit more, and perhaps that’s another story the author will explore (hint, hint). Lament and Hertgers are able characters and are entertaining leads to the story. While I was left wanting more answers to things, it's an intriguing world to explore. There’s a game being played, a game of chaos and order, gods and monsters, and the question is how to step out of the gameboard and direct your own path. The author navigates this question quite well. Suze Clarke-Morris181 5

We first meet Captain Lament Evyngar as she awaits her death, and then hear her story as she gives her final confession to Dr Dee, the astronomer to Queen Elizabeth I, who played a large part in bringing her to this end. When she is wrongly accused of a crime, Dee essentially blackmails her into working for him by threatening not only her life and reputation, but also those of her family and her loyal companion and friend, giant Dutchman, Sergeant Pieter Hertgers. He also insists on performong a ritual on her, which he claims will aid her in her quest. So Lament and Pieter set off for the Netherlands to steal magical items for Dr Dee but it proves to be a much more epic and terrifying journey than either of them could have possibly imagined. 

Lament and Pieter are engaging leads. Lament is charismatic and interesting, a skilled soldier and swordswoman, at a time when such a thing was almost unheard of. It was particularly interesting seeing her learn to control her more otherworldly abilities even if she perhaps doesn't understand them. And her interactions with Beatris were fascinating. Lament's relationship with Pieter is purely platonic, which I loved, but they are pretty devoted to each other, each always looking out for the other, fighting side by side. He is a much more straightforward character than Lament but no less interesting because of it. 

The story is both a bloodthirsty swashbuckling tale of hand to hand combat, eating, drinking and whoring and a completely otherworldly fantasy of angels, demons and inhuman monsters. And the two combine seamlessly to form a novel that grabs you from the get go and keeps you hanging on, tension always high As I mentioned, I don't have much experience with fantasy, but this worked for me. It is written in the present tense which helps keep it t air and exciting but maybe not so much in that we know Lament is relaying these events after they happened. There are a some moments when Lament slips between time and place which I felt could have been better highlighted and a couple of points that could've done with tighter editing, but these things were just niggles for me and didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book at all.

The Blade in the Angel's Shadow is a hugely entertaining novel with two hugely engaging leads. Action packed, tense throughout, full of a variety of antagonists - human and (very vivid) ethereal ones. There is an exciting denouement and a thrilling, explosive conclusion, each of which includes a heart breaking moment. I very much enjoyed it - more than I thought I might to be honest, which I'm delighted about - and I sincerely hope this isn't the last we've  seen of Captain Lament Evyngar! Snoakes930 33

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