Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Against the Light by Dave Duncan

The blurb:
The Hierarchy, high priests of the religious order the Light, rules both the magical kingdom of Albi and its religion. Worshippers in the old ways of the Earth Mother, clandestinely scattered throughout the land, are persecuted as heretics.  And when missionary student Rollo Woodbridge returns to his home in Albi he is arrested for heresy and treason, setting off a chain of events that puts everyone's life in jeopardy and plungers the kingdom into chaos.

With Rollo in jail, the treacherous motives of the Hierarchy begin in earnest as Earl Uptree of Norcaster puts the entire Woodbridge family at risk.  When two wise women rescue Rollo from prison, the family home is destroyed -- for Rollo and his siblings are left alive.  While his sister Maddy and his brother Brat swear vengeance, Rollo attempts to broker a peace between the faiths.  While Maddy works her way into advantageous positions and Brat joins the underground resistance, Rollo tries desperately to save his kingdom future.  As plots weave inexorably toward one another and life and death hang in the balance, the family must decide whether to stay and fight or leave Albi forever in the suspenseful, action-paced Against the Light.

I'd read every book that I could find of Dave Duncan's King's Blades series and was excited to see another Dave Duncan adventure novel.  Like his earlier novels, Against the Light has quite a lot of magic woven into the plot but this time the ability to use magic and belief in magic that divides political factions. 

The extent of the bitterness and acrimony between the sides becomes clear early in the novel.  The magic divide is reminiscent of the religious divide between the Catholics and the Church of England under Henry VIII, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.  There are a number of violent scenes, but they fit into the plot, so they worked for me. 

I particularly liked how Duncan tracked the three family members after the attack on their estate.  He carefully plotted their career paths and their eventual reunion to give the reader a suspenseful and satisfying story.  I devoured Against the Light and am looking forward to the next Dave Duncan novel.

ISBN-10: 1612182038 - Paperback $14.95
Publisher: 47North (January 24, 2012), 484 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program and the publisher.

About the Author:
Dave Duncan is a prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction, best known for his fantasy series, particularly The Seventh Sword, A Man of His Word, and The King's Blades.  He and his wife, Janet, his in-house editor and partner for over 50 years, live in Victoria, British Columbia. They have three children and four grandchildren.

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