"The Last Troubadour" is most definitely a character driven story, the first in a trilogy. Set in the 13th century, against the backdrop of the Inquisition, the Knights Templar, the Catholic Church, Knights and Kings, we visit the devastated city of Carcassonne, former home to Ramon Troubadour ... Fool incarnate. We join him in his quest to save the holy Dame of the Cathars from the fires of the Inquisition ... whether she wants to be saved or not!
We meet a one-eyed Knight, who rides with his men under no colors (rather ... his color is the color white); a giant of a man who may or may not be a Templar; a witch with the ability to see into the future, to heal, and to "trick" when the need arises (and who may have designed her own Tarot deck!); and a Dandy, who holds more secrets than one might think.
Each of the major characters are plotted as one of the archetypes from the Tarot. The power of the Tarot is in the story that it tells, and through these characters the story grows to mythical proportions!
The story is in and of its time ... bawdy, humorous, mysterious and mystical, all at the same time. As an aficionado of the Tarot, and someone with a keen interest in the Knights Templar and the actions of the Catholic Church during this time period, I found this book to be fast paced, never dropping my interest, and providing great insight into the people and the culture that it reflects.
I hope that Derek Armstrong and his publishers do as has been indicated here on [...], and issue a Tarot deck with the second book in this series that reflects the background of the book.
By the way ... have I mentioned the evil Diableteur? An archetypal Devil (complete with scyth), he is working with the Pope to find the world's most important religious relic - an act that is keeping the current Pope alive by dint of his will. In the shadows, two other men vie for the bounty ... and the Pope's office once he passes on!
For anyone who enjoys mysteries, the Tarot, and the background of the 13th century, this is a must have book ... and no doubt will be a must have series!