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The Secret War Paperback – 2 Jan 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (2 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230711189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230711181
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,832,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`The Secret War is well written and an easy page-turner.' -- Chronicles --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

The year is 1815, when angels and daemons walked our streets . . .

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Some books just strike the right key. I read this on holiday and I was blown away by it. The plot is pretty simple yet compellingly written: two friends are swept away on a perilous adventure not of their choosing, and battle against the armies of the Damned across land and sea. Its episodic, like the adventure serials of the 1930s and 40s, but without the staged cliff-hangers. There's a great affable spirit to the adventures and the heroes are quite likeable. My only minor criticism is that I felt at times frustrated by the possibilities that could have been explored in the book but the author chose to go in another direction (I won't spoil it for you). But this is a small criticism. Hopefully if there is another book (as I suspect there will be), all those questions will be answered. A cracking read.
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Format: Hardcover
In books, stories of vampires and demons fighting men have been done over and over again and it's tough for a new writer to find a different slant to put on events. The same can be said of war stories, particularly in film and TV versions, where the focus has switched away from the fighting itself and more towards the human aspect, with some having the war as a background character rather than a focus. What M. F. W. Curran has done with "The Secret War" is combine both to great effect.

The recently promoted Captain William Saxon and his closest friend Lieutenant Kieran Harte are survivors of the Battle of Waterloo. For both of them, the victory comes with a cost. William lost many men under his command and carries the guilt that he was no able to do more. Kieran has been injured and is recuperating in the Belgian town of Gembloux where he has found love and is considering leaving the army to stay behind when his colleagues return home.

Neither of them realise that there are worse battles to come, against an enemy not so easily defeated as the French were. They soon find this out, though, as a mysterious artefact stolen from the body of a dead French soldier proves to have the power to raise a daemon. This daemon ravages the town of Gembloux, killing soldiers and civilians alike, including Kieran's lover. Reluctantly, they return home only to find there are others who are interested in the artefact. Death follows them until they meet a man called Engrin who leads them to Rome and introduces them to a secret part of the Catholic Church that is fighting a battle against these daemons and worse.

The story starts a little slowly, given that we don't actually see any action from the Napoleonic War, although we do get some in flashback a little later on.
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Format: Hardcover
What do you get when you cross some of the bloodiest battlefields in our history with a timeless struggle between the powers of light and darkness? You get this, a 'historical fantasy' from a very promising new voice.

We are drawn into the book with some highly atmospheric and realistic scenes from the aftermath of the battle of Waterloo, before the action quickly changes up about 5 gears and takes it's first thrilling turn into the fantastical.

You are never far away from epically described and imaginatively detailed battle scenes, while lead characters William Saxon and Kieran Harte, like Vorenus and Pullo from HBO's Rome, find themselves in the middle of high adventure and history changing events every time they pause for breath.

MFW Curran has created a world - and a secret world, that could endure for a long time and for many volumes. It nods towards the rich history of fantasy writing, from Tolkien to Rowling, without ever once standing around long enough to be accused of being derivative. It's a fresh approach and mix of genres that thrills. The author could scarcely improve on the action, thrills and spills and plot development - with a little more depth next time round he may well stray into 'classic' territory.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know what I expected with The Secret War. You look at the author's blog and he cites writers like Clive Barker as one of his influences. However, this is definitely not a Clive Barker book. Yet while it might lack his originality, The Secret War is honest and undeniably a great page-turner. It moves from one rollicking adventure to the next and as an adventure it is one of the best I've read for a while. The battle scenes are a little gory in places, but the pace of the narrative doesn't let the reader dwell on them.

It might not have any strong female characters, (I agree with the review below)but then does it really need any? And if the other books are as good as this one, then I don't really mind if a series is on the cards!
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Format: Paperback
I read a few reviews about this book which tempted me to buy a copy and I also enjoy reading Fantasy. This book seemed just that little bit different and it is. Its an enjoyable read with plenty of action which keeps the story unfolding. The characters are likable and the story keeps you interested enough to the very end, although I felt there wasn't enought depth to the two main characters. I feel that this is mainly because it's setting the story for a projected trilogy and what's to follow. I look forward to reading the next book in the series 'The Hoards of Mhorrer.'
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