The Sword Of Damascus (Hodder, £19.99) is Richard Blake’s fourth book about Aelric, a 7th-century Briton whose natural cunning, charm and ruthlessness have led him from desperate beginnings to the highest councils of the dying Roman empire.
Now extremely old, he’s hiding from his many enemies in a Jarrow monastery until a series of misadventures finds him in Damascus, caught in the struggle between the retreating empire and the rising might of Islam.
But even old and half-blind, Aelric is no man’s pawn for very long.
It would be hard to over-praise this extraordinary series, a near-perfect blend of historical detail and atmosphere with the plot of a conspiracy thriller, vivid characters, high philosophy and vulgar comedy.
Written by Matt Coward and published in The Morning Star,
on the 16th October 2011
© 2015, richardblake.
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