Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review: The Secret War by MFW Curran

Hey Guys & Girls, please join me in welcoming my first fellow-reviewer, David Jooste! :-) We met at a party for one of our friends and got to talking about SFF; I invited him to review books on the blog, he agreed, and this is his first review! :-) There’ll be plenty more coming from David, so stay locked on this blog! :-)

Ok guys and gals so here it is, The Secret War by F.M.W. Currar.

This was really a great read and I enjoyed every moment of it. I have not really delved into a historic fantasy novel before so this specific type of fantasy is still new to me. However I was not disappointed in the book at all, it was full of anticipation and intrigue, a nice twist here and there, characters you learn to love and lots of adventure.

Let’s see a basic abstract of the story line would flow something like this:

Napoleon has lost, the battle of Waterloo is over, the soldiers can finally rest, and this is good news for all especially William Saxon and his adopted brother Kieran Harte. Then scavengers find a mysterious artifact, a bronze pyramid, on one of the dead corpses in the battlefield. With the discovery of this artifact the brother’s lives are plunged into a world filled with demons, vampires, warrior monks and angelic beings more enigmatic than any.

The brothers have no choice left to them but to leave behind their family and embark on a journey that will see them through a battle on the high sea, a secret order hidden in the Vatican and bloody confrontations on the battle field. But most of all each brother will be faced with a decision that will change their lives forever, most likely parting them in the process.

Will they survive the battle, will they make the right choices, will they see their family again?

So what did I think of this? Well whenever I can’t put a book down it’s definitely a good thing, and I could not put this one down at all. I kept going page after page, chapter after chapter, it was that good. Now I will admit it was not the best book I have read this year so far but it’s definitely up there, and will recommend it to all my friends.

The first chapter was a little loose to me, it did not really catch me but boy-o-boy when the Scarimadean (the bronze pyramid) was activated and all the destruction that it brought forth, I could not stop reading. So basically I’m saying get through chapter one and don’t worry about the rest, that is as laid back as the book will be, after that Matt takes you on an adventure you will not regret.

The first big thing for me was the demon, damn those things just don’t die, and if your imagination is as good as mine they are pretty darn ugly. Matt also takes no shortcuts in detail especially when it comes to the gore so be ready for a messy ride. Remember this is the revolution so they still use muskets, swords and cannons meaning loads of blood, especially, for some reason decapitation.

But Matt does not leave the battles on the battle-field, he also gives us a nail biting encounter on the open seas, and introduces us to the enigmatic Dar’uka.

The main likes for me was the intricate story that unfolds before you, the action hardly ever stops, there is a good dose of mystery, loads of secrets and once more the in-depth storyline. I would have liked a bit more out of the main characters all you really see is the small change in Captain William Saxon as he becomes a great leader and Lieutenant Harts fall into despair and anger after the loss of his lover at the hands of a demon. Apart from that not a lot happens to our characters, its just one long action packed adventure (don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining).

From what I hear there will be lots of time for discovery as Matt has several follow-ups planned for the future, I will definitely look forward to the sequel to The Secret War, The Hoard Of Mhorrer,and a sister novel that will deal with the existence of the Dar’uka. Will definitely be waiting for them.

But back to this one, as I said so many times in this review, brilliant. The storyline is great, constantly moving and full of adventure, which more that makes up for the few downsides.

Personally I love a story that ends with a twist and man, does this one have a twist in it for you, not bad, really really good. You will not expect it or see it coming; both brothers have to make a choice that will influence the rest of their lives and will take them in different directions all together, so trust me it’s big and well worth the journey to get there.

I love a story that ends this way!

Ok so that’s it, adventure-packed, full of fantasy, set in a historical background(so there is some familiarity), all in all a well rounded novel. A definite for my bookshelf and yours.

8/10 (would have said 7 but decided the character flaw was not enough for a low mark when looking at the storyline)

To order your copies, click here for US, here for UK, and for those in SA, please use the link at the top of the blog. Also, check out the author's website here. :-) And as an added bonus, check out the interview with the author at the great blog, Un:Bound!

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