Thursday, 16 September 2010

FANTASY REVIEW: The Alchemist in the Shadows - Pierre Pevel

Release Date: 16/09/10


Welcome to Paris, in 1633, where dragons menace the realm. Cardinal Richelieu, the most powerful and most feared man in France, is on his guard. He knows France is under threat, and that a secret society known as the Black Claw is conspiring against him from the heart of the greatest courts in Europe. They will strike from the shadows, and when they do the blow will be both terrible and deadly. To counter the threat, Richelieu has put his most trusted men into play: the Cardinal's Blades, led by Captain la Fargue. Six men and a woman, all of exceptional abilities and all ready to risk their lives on his command. They have saved France before, and the Cardinal is relying on them to do it again. So when la Fargue hears from a beautiful, infamous, deadly Italian spy claiming to have valuable information, he has to listen ...and when La Donna demands Cardinal Richelieu's protection before she will talk, la Fargue is even prepared to consider it. Because La Donna can name their enemy. It's a man as elusive as he is manipulative, as subtle as Richelieu himself, an exceptionally dangerous adversary: the Alchemist in the shadows ...


Having read the original novel by this French author, I really enjoyed his Dumas style alongside his characters, who whilst flawed, did their best to follow their own codes of honour. It’s stylistic, it has a flowing script and, to top it all off, it has dragons thrown in. What Pevel does well, and probably what helped him win the David Gemmell Morningstar Award, is his dialogue, its got ton’s of formality that help place the characters into the timeline and backed up with emotional content that has added to the mythos that he helped establish back in the Cardinal’s Blades.

Finally add a thrill seeking roller coaster of plot twists and you know that it’s an adventure you’d best hold onto. Of my concerns with the original, this one does bring the dragons more to the fore in this offering which adds new layers and helps explain why they really had to be there as the original story laid the background, this one adds more context. A well written piece and I can’t wait for the final part.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just received the 3rd book (in French) and should read it soonish.

I will give you my comments on it asap :)