Customer Reviews for

Irons in the Fire

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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  • Posted February 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A new start for an established fantasy writer

    It is heartening to see a new series from the thinking person's fantasy writer. After the Aldabreshin Compass quartet, tough times have befallen Juliet, what with the loss of her editor Tim Holman from Orbit and the untimely demise of her agent Maggie Noach. Still it is testament to Juliet's skill that she has bounced right back with a new series chronicling the Lescari Revolution, a new publisher, and a new agent. Praise is also extended to her close circle of friends who helped immensely, along with the British Fantasy Society community, that wonderful Write Fantastic author Chaz Brenchley, and the irrepressible Pete Crowther of PS Publishing fame. But such a curiously titled novel. What could Juliet possibly by trying to tell her readers?!

    It is also heartening to see some of the minor wrinkles from Juliet's early work (the dainty stepping into male viewpoint character's shoes, e.g. Ryshad in The Swordsman's Oath) not returning to her latest novel, which is arguably her best yet. In fact, so confident is Juliet with her creations that there are half a dozen pivotal characters, three male, three female, and all given equal limelight. They are:

    Tathrin (m) - a humble/gawky scholar turned apprentice to a prosperous fur trader with grand aspirations for peace;
    Aremil (m) - a pain-wracked crippled nobleman retired to live the scholarly life, with grander plans for everlasting peace in Lescar;
    Karn (m) - a charming, resourceful and harder than nails spy, who has the annoying habit of popping up where least expected;
    Litasse (f) - Duke Iruvain's wife, who makes an unhappy marriage of convenience tolerable by having an affair with her ogreish husband's Spymaster, Harmare;
    Failla (f) - Duke Garnot's wily mistress. A sexy yet loyal individual, driven by strong family ties;
    Branca (f) - a plain and dumpy maid. But looks are deceiving. She is an expert practitioner of Artifice (the subtle magic discovered in The Tales of Einarinn series). Will her involvement with Aremil blossom into love and jeopardise all their carefully made plans?

    And not forgetting the cast of equally important non-viewpoint characters of whom a favourite has to be the Mountain Men brothers Sorgrad and Gren who go about their mercenary dealings with so much aplomb that it often overspills into humour.

    Such an unwieldily amount of characters could quite easily unravel, but Juliet is at the height of her game, and skilfully weaves the threads offered by this diverse crowd into something more beautiful than the Bayeux Tapestry. Gradually, the brewing revolution comes to the boil, without the need for omnipotent magicians, wizards or archmages.

    At times, it felt like reading a reading a history book, with overtones of the Greek tragedies, maybe this is why some have said this novel starts slowly. Perhaps, yes. But this is Juliet's style, her strength: taking the reader by the hand and showing them the land, unveiling the people, the plot. Such a journey is never boring and is vitally important as the pace quickens to the first of many bloody battles.

    Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment in what has to be trilogy: Blood in the Water, where the story of Lescar's freedom from tyranny will no doubt have more twists and turns than a helter-skelter. But life is never straightforward. Nothing ever goes to plan. And the way Juliet's character's adapt to changing circumstances is magnificent to behold and well worth continual reading.

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    Posted November 6, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

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