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Necromancer's Betrayal (Flesh & Bone, Book 2) Paperback – 20 Jul 2009
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About the Author
A J Dalton is one of the UK's leading authors of metaphysical fantasy. He has worked as a teacher of the English language in Thailand, Egypt, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The influence of these diverse cultures lends a rich and vivid quality to his prose. Necromancer's Betrayal is his second novel. He has also written a number of articles and short stories. He currently lives and works in both Manchester and London. To find out more about metaphysical fantasy, the writing of A J Dalton and getting published, go to http://metaphysicalfantasy.wordpress.com.
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The book has a great pace, the characters are engaging. And best of all - like all very good authors I found myself going where on earth does this guy get his ideas from? Some of them were so different, imaginative and importantly believable - the logic holds up. My favourite character is still the Green Witch - she's gone very dark in this one and the line between good and evil is very thin if not non-existant!
I'm sure like all novels this one has weak points but to be honest I was too busy enjoying it to notice.
I await the 3rd book with interest!
The book is published using Authorhouse, which means that the set up and publication details, including editing, copy editing etc are all done by the company, and if I recall right it does cost a bit, which is a shame because there are a number of mistakes that should have been picked up...
As to what metaphysical fantasy actually is, there is a nebulous aura to the subgenre, especially as wielded by Dalton. The book feels to be very much a fantasy novel in the traditional sense, but there has been a lot of thought put into the gods, and then what is behind the gods.
The characters are, as a whole good, entertaining and individual.
The story itself starts intriguingly, the kingdom of Dur Memnos has known peace since the events of the first book, but the cracks begin to show when the infant son of two of the main characters from the first book, Saltar and Kate is stolen away from their palace, triggering a series of events that have massive ramifications for the kingdom and the world at large.
There are some excellent action sequences and a lot of thought has gone into the story itself. As a whole, it is well, engagingly written and did not prove to be a struggle to read. Returning to characters that one has not read in a while did feel like meeting up with old friends after a few years apart. All of this is good.
Some of the ideas are large (probably where the metaphysical comes in), dealing with the nature of the gods, what it means of some of the gods are destroyed, how they came into existence and that there might be older things out there in the universe, that has a problem with the deities.
The down side?
Some of the characters just seem to become too powerful.
Or in some cases, not powerful enough.
The conclusion is wrapped up a little too easily, with one character becoming so powerful that they are able to deal with the threats that have build up with a click of their fingers, mitigating the threat that has been carefully constructed throughout the book.
Much of what has been changed is reset (but not everything) and the events do leave the world change, which could be important later.
The great force that is brought into the world, is depicted as being evil, although to me, it should have been beyond the simple terms of black and white, and for all that it is meant to be, seems rather petty in seeking revenge when it is a god in it's own right. It is too easily manipulated and controlled by others.
With all that being said I will withhold final judgement until I have read the final book in the series.
It is clear that the over arcing story is going somewhere, and the growing displays of power, and the very ideas presented throughout may well deliver an exciting and rewarding payoff.
Mordius remains my favourite character. A J Dalton's characterisation of him and all the others is brilliant. They are all uniquely crafted and reading them again in this second volume feels like I'm returning to old friends. The characterisation and writing is always consistent and the plot never lets up. The author has created an amazing world and a brilliant series. I can't wait for the next book!
I loved Necromancers Gambit and it got me back into fantasy reading but Necromancers Betrayal is fantastic. This book has the feel of an epic and keeps the reader constantly questioning, thinking and wanting more. AJ Dalton has a an efficient writing style that draws the reader in, filling answers with more questions on a rollercoaster ride of fantastic plot, dialogue, humour and the horrible.
Dalton is the master of describing the horrible and repulsive, yet has the gentle and sensitive balance that keeps his reader passionately involved in his characters. Saltar, Mordius, Kate, Strap and the Scourge grow in depth within their current turmoil yet the past is explained without the loss of energy or flow of the book. Yet Dalton has compassion and depth for all is characters. Even if there is a feeling these new and interesting souls may be lost upon the intricate journey and well paced story even the lesser characters have depth and quality that mirror the skill and commitment of this author.
If you are a looking for a book that breaks the mould and feels new and vibrant (so many fantasy books leave you wondering if you've read the book before due to warn out plots and formats) this is it. AJ Dalton is a master at doing the sneaking up and smacking you in the face bit when things seem to be bobbing along quite nicely. Loved it..... energy, passion, fear, believable hero's, affectionate fools, the blessed, the cursed, the corrupt and the good...all ingredients that combine and flourish in to a book that leaves you wanting to read more of Daltons outstanding work.
And I have had a sneak at the first chapter of book 3, and oh my, are we in for one hell of a ride....