Elisha Barber

E.C. Ambrose. DAW, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0835-0
Pseudonymous fantasist Ambrose’s version of 14th-century England has an interesting system of magic and is filled with visceral horrors described in graphic detail. Falsely accused of his brother’s death, barber-surgeon Elisha escapes by joining the royal army laying siege to the castle of Duke of Dunbury, where he stitches wounds and performs amputations among the ranks of the king’s foot soldiers. After he meets the alluring herbalist Brigit, he discovers that he is a magus, with prodigious untapped gifts that he must learn to control. The illiterate Elisha is an unusually enlightened hero for the age: he tolerates the romantic affections of a male friend, invents triage 600 years early, and treats wounds with ligature rather than cauterization—a treatment he learned from a Moorish woman two centuries before Ambroise Paré. The novel also suffers from a resolution in which far too many characters are conveniently revealed to be magi; and while Elisha himself is an entertaining hero, the supporting cast is not nearly as interesting. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/27/2013
Release date: 07/02/2013
Genre: Fiction
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Mass Market Paperbound - 386 pages - 978-0-7564-0836-7
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