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Still as strong as ever
on 9 June 2005
When Caitlin Shepherd, a GP, loses her husband and son to the very plague she has been trying to cure, she finds herself driven insane, her personality shattered into five very different personalities - her own, that of a young girl, a neurotic chain-smoker, a haggard old woman, and a beast from the darkness. Seeking shelter with her friend Mary, she becomes caught up in the eternal conflict when she is called on to enter into the Otherworld to find a cure for the plague, taking with her two runaways and a man who is looking for his lost daughter. In Otherworld, Caitlin learns of her destiny as a Sister of Dragons and rescues a human boy used as an experiment by the Tuatha De Danann, gods of old, and realises that this new world may be the way to save her family - but not everyone will survive her quest, and even if she reaches the end, she will have to sacrifice something very, very important indeed . . .
Although I agree with the previous reviewer that this book is perhaps not as pacy as some of Chadbourn's earlier works, in his defense this new trilogy is a very different kettle of fish. The Age of Misrule carried on directly into one another, whereas here, bravely I thought, we move on from the events of The Devil in Green with no mention at all of Mallory or Sophie. Instead, we are given an entirely new cast, and what a delight they are.
Readers of the Age of Misrule will recognise Jack as the boy whose mother Shavi met briefly in Darkest Hour, mourning the loss of her son - an interesting plot point to counter those who accuse Chadbourn of 'too much junk.' Having said that, Carlton feels underused and the revelation regarding Matt towards the end of the book could be seen as a little rushed, and Caitlin's brief jaunt to our world doesn't seem to have that much impetus for anything, really, other than introducing Thackeray and Harvey.
So perhaps, a little rushed with two or three too many characters - but it raises interesting questions about the nature of the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons and what is in store for the rest of the quest, as well as offering tantalising teasers about what has really happened to Church . . .