The Guns of Ivrea

Clifford Beal. Solaris, $9.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-78108-347-5
This book’s dedication to those authors who are “recreating the Middle Ages not as they were but as they ought have been” is entirely appropriate for this merrily anachronistic adventure. Beal (The Raven’s Banquet) introduces the kingdom of Valdur as a land chock-full of seafaring fantasy—the swashbuckling pirates don’t feel the least bit medieval—and religious politicking. After Brother Acquel discovers a long-kept secret about the legendary Saint Elded that threatens his entire church, he goes on the run, bearing an ancient artifact that links him irrevocably to Elded. Elsewhere, a coastal noble’s trade with the merfolk yields mutiny and betrayal, and a young merwoman becomes fascinated by those who live on land. These threads weave together into a grand web of intrigue and adventure that will change the kingdom forever. Beal keeps the action balanced expertly with complex political machinations, and though his prose can be somewhat blunt and lacking in subtlety, it does help keep things concise in a plot that might easily grow out of hand. The climax doesn’t entirely satisfy, but it sets up several solid openings for a sequel. Agent: Ian Drury, Sheil Land Associates. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 02/09/2016
Genre: Fiction
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