Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shadow of the Lion

b Shadow of the Lion by Lackey, Freer, Flint: This is a narrow but epic historical fantasy sort of thing.  Written by a team of three authors (some with a better grasp of punctuation than others) with tons of characters and complex, interweaving narratives, Shadow of the Lion is not for the faint of heart.  It is pretty awesome, though.  The complexity made this a slow stop-and-go event for me that dragged on over several months, but I am a sucker for alternative-historical fantasy in general but especially when the emphasis is more on the historical. 

Sometimes the world-building in this sort of book is a tad muddy; we're not precisely sure where history diverged, and we're not sure what the fantasy elements are.  This book makes these things pretty clear from the word GO, and the changes are inspired.  Magic is real and given a certain amount of respect and acknowledgement by the church.  When this change is made, a lot of the crazy things the monastic knights did and many of the wacky superstitions of the time actually make sense.  It's a very nice trick: to make history more sensical by adding fantasy elements to it (just like that word I made up there). 

There is intrigue, action, betrayal, drinking, whoring, church, state, old land Spirits, good and evil, hidden identities, danger, madness, and a ton of characters of all kinds that kind of make you hate it every time the point of view changes.  Centered in medieval Venice (and the lion of St. Mark legends).  Good stuff.

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