The Boy Who Wept Blood (Erebus Sequence 2) by Den Patrick
|The Boy Who Wept Blood (Erebus Sequence 2) by Den Patrick|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: The action packed sequel to The Boy with the Porcelain Blade raises the Erebus Sequence trilogy's volume to 11. This time our hero is Dino, half-brother and bodyguard to a ruler who seems to be changing for some reason. No, Anea isn't quite what she was.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: January 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
Anea is now the ruler of Demesne but, rather than retain the current aristocratic system of ruling houses, she works towards a republic, empowering the plentiful but poor peasants. As no turkey votes for Christmas, not all ruling houses align with her ideas, making life treacherous – fatally so for some. Dino, her half-brother is doing all he can to protect her but, Anea's desire to spend most of her time with her scientific machines isn't doing her any favours in the popularity stakes. For Dino hiding away is not an option; he's got questions and he wants to live long enough to answer them.
I may have been a little luke-warmish when it came to last year's Erebus Sequence debut, The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by British fantasy author Den Patrick. Loved the Borgia Italianate setting, loved the idea of the Orfanos such as Anea (different for her silence and her mouth) and Dino (the blood of the title and some interesting arm addenda) being different but there were buts. However, I have no reservations at all about this, the second in the trilogy. The conspiratorial cat has been put among the Orfano pigeons in an excellent way from the moment the roller coaster ride begins on that very first page.
I should mention here that you really do need to have read the first book first to appreciate the background to the Orfano and their history in the city. Those foundlings who have survived thus far are adult and, in the case of the last volume's hero Lucien, happily married and living elsewhere.
This time Lucien just pops up at the end with a hint that we may see more of him again in Book 3. However, as good a central character as he was, we don't miss him. Dino, the sword master (or Superiore Maestro di Spada if you want to be posh) more than carries the piece as he tries to survive while attempting to discover why there seems to be a higher mortality rate than usual among aristos and why his sister isn't as empathetic as she once was. Anea, ensconced with her machines, is no help but this worries Dino; they were the downfall of the Emperor before her. (See what I mean about needing to read in order?)
In between the intrigue (Den leads us to suspect each person at some stage!) the author proves he can do gentle when a beautiful, unexpected will they/won't they love story emerges. There's also a graphic sex scene but it's very much needed as an important plot point rather than gratuitous shock value.
It's not all gentle though. Den also does fast-paced, bloody and darkly satisfying while still finding time for his trademark witty one liners, thrown grenade-like to lessen the incredibly heated tension.
Some other familiar make the leap between the first novel and this instalment. The trusty, great value Massimo is now Dino's guard/eyes on the ground and the wonderful Professor Virmyre also makes a welcome return. However we do also have some new people to watch. Agostina, acolyte of the Cult of Santa Maria is particularly mysterious and, while talking about mystery, who are those vicious grey men?
I must admit to muddling one or two of the aristos from time to time but, do you know what? It didn’t matter at all. I do offer one warning though: beware – this is exciting sorcery-less sword fantasy that begs to be read in one sitting or it will sit under your office desk taunting you till you get a chance to return to it after work. Or was that just me? If so, roll on 2016 and Book 3, The Girl on the Liar's Throne. I'm now well and truly hooked.
(Thank you so much Gollancz for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: If you love fantasy, we definitely have some recommendations for you. (We're assuming you have read the first Erebus.) For starters, try The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick or if you like your fantasy scary there's Scar Night by Alan Campbell or the gritty gangland fantasy of The Wolves of London - The Obsidian Heart Trilogy (Book 1) by Mark Morris.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Boy Who Wept Blood (Erebus Sequence 2) by Den Patrick at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Boy Who Wept Blood (Erebus Sequence 2) by Den Patrick at Amazon.com.
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