Set in a demon-haunted, Renaissance Europe–inspired world, this dark fantasy novella from Holt (An Orc on the Wild Side) is a captivating character study. The unnamed, morally ambiguous narrator is able to perceive and communicate with demons, and has been authorized by the church to evict them from their human hosts, but his ruthless approach to exorcisms makes him unpopular with demons and humans alike. When a princess’s pregnancy attracts the attention of a demon the narrator has known all his life, the narrator follows the demon to the palace. There he meets the princess’s tutor, Prosper of Schanz, a philosopher and artist in the mold of da Vinci. When the narrator realizes that Prosper is inhabited by a demon who is likely responsible for Prosper’s artistic genius, the narrator faces a challenging moral decision about whether to expel the demon and deprive the world of more masterworks. The engrossing narrative voice and assured worldbuilding compensate for a slight plot and rushed conclusion. Readers will be pleasantly surprised by this new direction for Holt. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/08/2019 Release date: 01/28/2020 Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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