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The continuation of an epic
on 9 June 2005
The Brothers and Sisters of Dragons have succeeded in their task. The Tuatha De Danann, the Gods of ancient times, have returned to this world to fight the Fomorii, agents of darkness. But, as always with these higher beings, all is not as it seems. The Brothers and Sisters of Dragons have been manipulated from the beginning into doing the work of the Tuatha De Danann, and now they find themselves turned away whilst the Gods make plans to retake our world. With technology failing and Church devastated that the taint of the Fomorii led to the Gods' rejection of the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, they decide that their only option is to take the battle to the Fomorii themselves - but even a victory may not be as well-won as they hoped, for the return of an old friend in a new guise and a devastating revelation for Ruth may mean the end for humanity's last hope . . .
With trilogies, it often happens that the middle book becomes something of a 'filler' - something to tie up loose ends from the first book, and prepare the twists and turns of the third. Not so with Mark Chadbourn.
Although, obviously, there are matters to be resolved and cliffhangers to be created, Darkest Hour is in no way a 'filler' book - it is a perfectly-constructed novel of its own. Moving on from the general feel of despair left at the end of the first novel, this book continues to build up the characterisation of characters which was so apparent in the first book, World's End, but to a greater degree, giving room not only for velopment but also evolution of characters as they find themselves changed by the events unfolding around them.
Chadbourn's portrayal of a world driven mad by the loss of modernity is also chillingly realistic, with villages trying to survive on their own and whole communities driven to fear and paranoia by the loss of all they knew. He also manages to inject lighter touches - the travelling bands who aren't affected by loss of electricity, or the many moments of humour, dark or otherwise, that are scattered through the book.
This is one of Chadbourn's greatest strengths, the ability to take us from emotion to emotion in a split second without taking away from the power of what he is writing. While reading a passage from the book you feel as though you are being led down a river, with a world of opportunity that lets you experience everything before gently nudging you to the next thing.
You keep writing, Mr Chadbourn, and we'll keep reading.