Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jack Of Ravens - Mark Chadbourn

Not just trilogies.

When you start this book, you will see that Chadbourn actually has a series thing going, that presumably is being marketed as trilogies as that is what the garden variety fantasy reader wants and what sells.

The first two perhaps logically break at the start, but the end of the last book is definitely a cliffhanger leading into this one.

This is nothing like your standard walk walk walk walk chop stuff cast fireball run away type epic fantasy, either, being largely urban.

In fact, a lot of this novel is more reminiscent of Poul Anderson's time police type stories, if you added in Sidhe gods, and celtic magic powered superheroes like the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, of course.

Church is plunged back in time, and is instrumental in grouping the very first band of Brothers and Sisters, something which is corrupted later.

Veitch is still running around, basically leading the supervillain black Brothers and Sisters version.

A very bad lot called the Army of Ten Billion Spiders is out to get rid of existence, enslaving everything from Roman Legions to Greek, Roman and Celtic gods to do so.

One serious flaw in their plan is currently they can't just bump off Church and company, they need Veitch and his black 5 to do so.

A time odyssey from then on, as Church goes from his original trip, to Rome, to Elizabethan England (teaming up with a super spy that I think Chadbourn has writtten a short story about, Will Swyfe), to Vietnam, the Summer of Love, and more.

The other usual suspects are around, and the Spider types are trying to keep Ruth, Laura, Shavi, Caitlin, Mallory, Hunter, etc. under wraps to keep the pressure on Church.

The series has hence evolved from creeping horror to a political tour, if you like, which may interest some people more than the elf gods and dragons batles of the middle books.

Jack Churchill, which all this time travel of course gets all archetypal to an even greater degree than his initials and running around with Excalibur type swords had made him before.

3.5 out of 5

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