Top positive review
on 8 September 2017
The heart of this mesmerising tale pounds with medieval culture and explores the wretched, exhausting territory of the ‘dark’ ages in more ways than one.
Between opportunity knocking and cruel debts being settled there are some sterling performances, including that of an ambitious, apprentice librarian, who is completely reliant on his ability to spin a yarn to mentally and physically dodge confrontation, and a cluster of pitiful children, shivering not just from cold but unthinkable fears from those who shelter them.
Although this story didn’t set off at a heart pounding gallop, it quickly took me to places where crude existences were perfectly formed among their rank surroundings and self-preservation naturally thrives. There are many, many well-crafted characters, some of whom are consumed by a fierce obsession that may prove life-threatening for a few unfortunates.
As always with this author’s books I enjoyed watching the mystery unfurl. The idea behind the raven’s head artefact is excellently plotted and consistently menacing. The story is incredibly fluid, as each phrase or dialogue exchange slithers through the pages with minimum effort and yet conjures maximum atmosphere.