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Evil simmers in the story as the plot unfolds and it takes a while for Parker and his side-kicks, Louis and Angel, to make an appearance.
Jerome Burnel has recently been released from prison. He hires Parker to prove that he is innocent of child pornography charges. He also tells Parker that he is afraid that he will be killed for a heroic act that involved members from a small town cult known as The Cut.
Initially the reader doubts Burnel’s innocent, a skilful technique on the behalf of Connolly who constructs the story in such a way to question Burnel’s innocence. Before too long Parker finds links from Burnel’s case to other violent crimes in the Maine area, and this leads the investigation to a reclusive town in rural West Virginia. The town is ruled by The Cut who live in Amish-like seclusion. They control the town and (ironically) the criminals, but it is evident that their income is based on criminal activities instigated by The Dead King.
The Cut and Parker’s dead daughter provide a supernatural element which may be confusing for readers who have not read A Wolf in Winter. This should be a compelling reason never to miss out on any of the Charlie Parker books.
Luke Scull’s Sword of the North is book two of The Grim Company fantasy trilogy.
Brodar Kayne is the hero of the book and has earned the Sword of the North title because he has killed more ‘demonkind than he can recall’. He is part of small band of rebels whose aim is to destroy Salazar and liberate the people of Dorminia. Kayne is past his best and has to struggle with the consequences of age and choices that he made years before. This is evident through flashbacks and a very confusing plot that takes the reader back to the past and then immediately to the future.
The heroes from the first book are scattered in different places and appear powerless; the Age of Ruin is upon the land. Emerul, the half-mage is reduced to sending a messenger about the dangers that the White Lady poses and Shanna is reduced to being that messenger. Cole is dying but it won't be the last. I got the impression that he was a survivor in a Bondesque way.
I was excited when I started reading the first chapter but as I progressed through the book, the first person narrative style did not maintain my interest in the point-of-view characters. I found Brodar Kayne interesting enough to care about but towards the end I wondered why he had not just settled down with his beautiful wife instead of being suckered into another quest.
The story will appeal to fantasy readers and Game of Thrones fans but everything felt one-dimensional. I recommend reading the first book in the series in order to get an idea about the plot.
by James-Brent Styan (Jonathan Ball), ISBN: 978-1-86842-696-6