The latest novel detailing Aelric’s autobiographical experiences in the upper bureaucracy of the Byzantine Empire yet again does not disappoint. Initially, a lot of clerical work and paper-shuffling works to slow down our hero’s progress towards climaxes of various sorts: you’ll just have to see what sorts…but the sheer nastiness and British-Politician-imitating ghastliness of certain people gathers pace, as do the Persians, in the background at first, but increasingly moving centre-stage.
The irremediable repellence and cruelty of people towards their fellows, in the Dark Ages, is not stinted, as you would indeed come to expect of a Blake novel. Aelric at one point kills several people, then later has to kill some more, and then some more – all at the same time – after that incident. It’s a spoiler to tell you if he manages to kill the scumbag-in-chief, so I won’t: you must find out for yourselves.
That semi-lovable, unimaginably crusl and drug-addicted but highly intelligent rogue-in-the-Grand-Challenge-Cup-Class Priscus (readers of other novels will know him well) falls upon hard times but achieves redemption, which I have to say did please me.
An excellent read as is always the case from Mr Blake. As usual, some of the scenes of violence – and there are a few – are disturbingly graphic. You will enjoy it.
© 2015, richardblake.
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