Between Two Fires

Between Two Fires

4.8 8
by Christopher Buehlman
     
 

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“Buehlman…slips effortlessly into a different kind of literary sensibility, one that doesn’t scrimp on earthy humor and lyrical writing in the face of unspeakable horrors.”*

The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found an orphan of the Black Death in a Norman village. An almost unnerving picture of innocence, she tells

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Overview

“Buehlman…slips effortlessly into a different kind of literary sensibility, one that doesn’t scrimp on earthy humor and lyrical writing in the face of unspeakable horrors.”*

The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found an orphan of the Black Death in a Norman village. An almost unnerving picture of innocence, she tells Thomas that the plague is only part of a larger cataclysm—that the fallen angels under Lucifer are rising in a second war on Heaven. But is it delirium or is it faith?

She believes she has seen the angels of God. She believes the dead speak to her in dreams. And now she has convinced the faithless Thomas to shepherd her across an apocalyptic landscape to Avignon. There, she tells Thomas, she will fulfill her mission. There her true nature will be revealed. And there Thomas will confront an evil wrestling for the throne of Heaven, and which has poisoned his own soul.

*Kirkus Reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Thomas was a knight in mid-14th-century France before war, betrayal, and the Black Plague reduces him to banditry. But his road to oblivion in a nearly dead world ends with meeting Delphine, a young girl speaking with the voice of what may be angels—she could be a saint, or a witch. Thomas can't ignore his compulsion to join her quest to go to Avignon, home of the pope, undertaken for reasons unknown even to her. But they and their companion Père Matthieu don't realize they're trapped in a cosmic battle between good and evil, God having withdrawn from the world and Lucifer bent on filling the vacuum. until nightmarish creatures rise up everywhere to stop Delphine. Buehlman's (Those Across the River) medieval world is detailed with both sweet-smelling air and the gory results of plague, brutal but where hard-won small victories may add up faster than vast defeats. Thomas is the perfect everyman whose virtuous and sinful sides war internally as much as his sword arm battles in the physical world; Delphine is equally well drawn, part prophet and part frightened child. Fans of historical fantasy and horror will find this epic darkly rewarding. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Cormac McCarthy's The Road meets Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in this frightful medieval epic about an orphan girl with visionary powers in plague-devastated France. The year is 1348. The conflict between France and England is nothing compared to the all-out war building between good angels and fallen ones for control of heaven (though a scene in which soldiers are massacred by a rainbow of arrows is pretty horrific). Among mortals, only the girl, Delphine, knows of the cataclysm to come. Angels speak to her, issuing warnings--and a command to run. A pack of thieves is about to carry her off and rape her when she is saved by a disgraced knight, Thomas, with whom she teams on a march across the parched landscape. Survivors desperate for food have made donkey a delicacy and don't mind eating human flesh. The few healthy people left lock themselves in, not wanting to risk contact with strangers, no matter how dire the strangers' needs. To venture out at night is suicidal: Horrific forces swirl about, ravaging living forms. Lethal black clouds, tentacled water creatures and assorted monsters are comfortable in the daylight hours as well. The knight and a third fellow journeyer, a priest, have difficulty believing Delphine's visions are real, but with oblivion lurking in every shadow, they don't have any choice but to trust her. The question becomes, can she trust herself? Buehlman, who drew upon his love of Fitzgerald and Hemingway in his acclaimed Southern horror novel, Those Across the River (2011), slips effortlessly into a different kind of literary sensibility, one that doesn't scrimp on earthy humor and lyrical writing in the face of unspeakable horrors. The power of suggestion is the author's strong suit, along with first-rate storytelling talent. An author to watch, Buehlman is now two for two in delivering eerie, offbeat novels with admirable literary skill.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781937007867
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Christopher Buehlman is the winner of the 2007 Bridport Prize for Poetry and the author of three novels and several plays. He spends half the year in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the rest on the road.

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