Saturday, 12 December 2015

Review: The Bloody Quarrel Episode One by Duncan Lay

The prince is dead.

Fooled by the treacherous King Aidan, Fallon has shot down the one man he trusted to save his beloved nation of Gaelland. And yet, when the King could grind Fallon underfoot, he draws the simple farmer and fighter closer, making a hero of him.

Embroiled in plots beyond his comprehension and weighted with the guilt of the prince's murder, Fallon must tread carefully if he is to accomplish the task that first brought him to the cursed capital: rescue his wife, Bridgit, and the rest of his village from Kottermani slavery. If he and his hopelessly ensnared men can survive, they may yet find redemption.

Meanwhile, across the ocean, Bridgit is rallying those around her to spring an escape. But who can be trusted? The ever-present danger of traitors and liars among the slaves, and even among her fellow Gaelish, is poison to her plans. 

With an ocean between them and fouler nightmares looming, Fallon and Bridgit will be driven to their very limits to escape their prisons, find each other, and bring justice to Gaelland.

Perfect for fans of Robin Hobb and Joe Abercrombie.


Episode One starts up right where The Last Quarrel leaves off, with the death of Prince Cavan. Fallon and his men assume the worst, they'll pay for the murder, but instead find themselves in the King's debt; following orders with the promise of freedom for Bridgit and the other kidnapped families.

I really like the growth in Bridgit. Through the use of her strengths, being a mother, running a house and as wife of the village lawman, she becomes a cautious and clever leader. She gets tough when she needs to be though we see enough of the old Bridgit, occasionally weak and hopeless, to appreciate how much strength she has to draw on to look after herself and the others in Kottermani slavery.

When it comes to Fallon, several times I dearly wanted to shout some sense into him. We start to see "the Bridgit" in him as much as we see "the Fallon" in Bridgit. I very much want to see them together again.

The action rifles through this episode from beginning to end and continues to be well done. Even with the wait from the first book, I didn't feel I'd forgotten anything nor did I notice any parts of the first book had been overly rehashed.

My kindle read this to me on my commute which is appropriate I think since it was written on a commute. The movement seemed to enhance the urgency of the story. I definitely recommend taking this series up.

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