Wow what can I say. I am so glad I received the Gollancz newsletter recommending this book with its beautiful cover boldly at the top of the page, because otherwise there is a good chance I would have never found it amongst this era of brilliant Fantasy books being written left, right & centre. Ive lost count of how many trilogies & chronicles I am in the middle of at the moment, I clearly have a serious addiction when it comes to greatly written fantasy…
This is a tome of a book but it does not disappoint in anyway. I found the book brilliantly complex, it is a real book to dig into & not to stop until you literally reach the depths of Hell. Mr Alder has clearly done plenty of research & put in an immense amount of thought to combine the politics & battles of the ‘100 years war’ with this amazing fantasy concept of ‘Heaven’ guarded by its powerful but rather fussy & demanding angels & ‘Hell’ in the depths below, overrun with evil devils & demons. If this isn’t an awesome enough so far for you to actually read this book, throw in a very likable & intelligent young boy the ‘antichrist’ who is wanted dead by Satan, a usurping King Edward who has a war on his hands & cannot gain support of his angels he desperately desires & seems to be left with no choice but to have his father truly killed & hope the angels see him as the king or seek help from the depths of hell who in return want to be released from the darkness. Whilst the newly crowned French king is also lacking support of the French angels.
Like I said it is very complex & if I was to say anything negative about the book it would be the names which can easily get confusing particularly Mortimer & Montagu and Osbert & Orsino, although I expect this is to try & be as accurate as possible with the characters. Also there were sections where names were not used in conversation for a period of time, a lot of this was for a surprise effect, although it mainly worked I would often flick back to see if I had missed something. It would be an absolute waste to steam through this book, take it at a good pace, I read it over 2 weeks & you will certainly be rewarded, its 731 pages of gripping action.
The characters are really well personalised, I particularly like Montagu, who is a loyal King Arthur type knight with a holy sword, who has pledged his loyalty to serving his King. There are some great elements of magic mixed in too, I particularly enjoyed the use of a dead angels blood & feathers.
Overall just a fantastic & mesmerising combination of History & Fantasy – Cannot wait for the sequel.
Son of the Morning by Mark Alder Published by Gollancz