Off the Shelf

“Blood and Memory”

By Marcus Pan

Blood and MemoryBy this time in Fiona McIntosh’s The Quickening trilogy, the politics and intrigue heat up. New Morgravian king, Celimus, is ramping up his attempts at wrenching control of not only his own Legion from the hands of his murdered general Wyl Thirsk, but extends his eyes to Briavel in an attempt to achieve a marriage with the lovely, and again new, monarch of that realm, Queen Valentyna. With movements of his troops on Briavel’s border pressuring the lovely young queen she agrees, giving Celimus what he believes will be the rights to most of the mainland south of the Razor Mountains.

Not being enough, his eyes wander to the Razors themselves as well, as he covets an empire. But King Cailech of the mountain people is a wily one, with conniving intelligence where he lacks in resources. Still King Celimus chases down the last of the Thirsk line, Wyl’s young sister Ylena, and in the process razes the quiet town of Rittylworth as well as slaughtering some of his own nobles – more havoc being created for the young king as the web of deceit and lies begins to overflow.

Our hero this time, Wyl in his fourth body due to the Quicking gift of Myrren from years ago, shares his secret with a select few who find themselves trying to slowly maneuver against the barbarous King Celimus without drawing outward attention to themselves knowing his cruel ways. Scattered to the wind with Fynch and Knave going in search of the secretive Manwitch, Aremys and Ylena (Wyl) heading to the Wild. Other friends of Wyl’s are locked in Cailech’s mountain dungeons where they are terrorized by black magic and loneliness and still more are scattered to Briavel and elsewhere as Celimus’ terrible axe of might comes down on their homes and villages.

Fiona still maintains a smooth, yet just-descriptive-enough, style as we move through Blood and Memory. The three book series picks up pace and rushes to what I’m expecting to be a huge conclusion, and while I devised some of the paths Wyl could take I am unable to come up with a “how” and I can’t wait for it. Other smaller plots open up, involving the same people of course as they get mired in other matters throughout Fiona’s milieu. The surprising role that young Fynch takes on, for example, was totally unexpected and sure to be a thrilling road to follow. The closing of Blood and Memory concerns itself with this development and leaves you ready to dive right into book 3, Bridge of Souls, to follow the thread – which is exactly what I did.

"Blood and Memory" by Fiona McIntosh
Designed by Jeffrey Pennington
Copyright © 2003, 2005 by Fiona McIntosh
ISBN: 0-06-074758-7

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