It is no secret that I really, really like this series – its blend of accurate historical background, and fictional, character-full, action is a true joy.
And this is – so far as I have read the series – just about the best. With fully-fleshed travels through Spain, Africa and the Middle-East, this novel's paced style kept me short of sleep, because I could not put it down. With some great, strong characters, which are both believable and well-rounded, set against a backdrop of intrigue in dark-ages Damascus, the storyline weaves and bobs with unerring timing toward its explosive denouement.
What I like is the depth of characters within the book; I was involved in real lives here, it seemed, as it always does seem when the storytellers' art is plied with skill, as here. I felt the cold dampness of Jarrow, my mouth dried up in the arid deserts of Africa, and I worried with Alaric/Aelric at the duplicitous nature of Damascan politicking.
A fine romp, this, then, and the highlight of the series so far, for me.
Reviewed on the 22nd July 2015 by RogTheDog
© 2015, richardblake.
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