Richard Blake never lets his readers down – so long as they have a taste for double-dealing and grisly violence. Roderic of Aquileia, the Byzantine Emperor’s youngest spy, is trapped in Italy by its monstrous Exarch, a eunuch who fancies himself as Emperor. He strong-arms Roderic into spying on the Lombards, at which point all hell breaks loose.
It took me a while to realise with his earlier novels that the grim humour that seeps from every page is actually intended. I don’t think Blake ever tries for laugh-out-loud moments. But he does manage to raise a shocked smile in almost every chapter.
Every bad turn the protagonist makes is seasoned with just the right amount of mystery to keep you turning those pages until finally and sadly you must say goodbye and wait on the large if often alarming mind of Richard Blake to set the dominoes up again for another structured knocking down.
Review published on Amazon on the 1st march 2018
© 2018, richardblake.
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