Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Broken Sword (Halcyon 2)

The Broken Sword (Halcyon 2)
By:  Joseph Robert Lewis
ISBN:  2940012461346
Published May 4, 2011 by Joseph Robert Lewis 
Available Format:  ebook

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Opening Lines:
This is a work of historical fantasy. Some of this world may be familiar to you.

But in this world, Europe never emerged from the last Ice Age and only the southern areas are habitable. North Africa is cool, wet, and fertile. Ancient nations such as the Persian Empire have persisted, though others, such as the Romans, never rose to power. Some of the countries in this world reflect the cultures and attitudes of the Renaissance while others reflect the Industrial Age. Historical figures appear, though they too may be different from the ones you have known.

Don't expect this world to conform to the history that you know. The people and places are different. The climate and wildlife are different.

Even death is different here.

Set in The Other Earth where machines sail the seas and the skies, massive prehistoric creatures still roam the earth, and the dead walk among the living, The Broken Sword continues where The Burning Sky left off.  After they attempted to conquer The New World, the Espani were left broken materially, physically, and spiritually.  Don Lorenzo Quesada still holds out hope that an ancient holy relic, which he learned of through the spirit of a nun, will bring his country back to fortune and honor. 

After the crash of Taziri’s Halcyon, Don Lorenzo is warned that the military is on the move.  He fears that his relic will be stolen and used as a weapon, so he sets out with his fiery Incan wife, her sabre-toothed cat, and an assortment of other characters to retrieve the powerful artifact.  It is up to Lorenzo to stop a war that could destroy all the Middle Sea nations, even if it costs him his life. 

I was a lucky winner of this book in a LibraryThing giveaway. 

Firstly, Joseph Robert Lewis is certainly a talented writer!  This piece is incredibly imaginative and fascinating.  I particularly love the way the historical and factual is interwoven with the fantastical and fictional—a favorite mixture of mine.  There was just enough of the real world—marital issues, wars, intricate machines—combined with the supernatural—ghosts, demons, magical relics.   

Each character is wonderfully developed and complex.  There are so many side-stories that could be developed into other books!  Taziri is one of my favorite characters (the main character of the first book of the series).  As the pilot of the Halcyon, she is an intelligent, strong, confident woman who leaves her husband and child at home in order to carry out her duties.  Lorenzo and the others are required to place a lot of trust in her in order to succeed. 

My only complaint with the book is that there were times that it moved somewhat slowly.  Since I usually read late at night before bed, I would find myself easily putting it aside and going to sleep—something that doesn’t happen very often.  It isn’t that the story wasn’t stimulating, just that there were times that I wasn’t so involved that I absolutely couldn’t put it down.  I think partially it could be attributed to the sheer density of the storyline.  As I mentioned before, there was a lot of substance behind the characters and a few different subplots going on at once.  While this was all magnificently written and interesting, I found I needed a break every now and then.     

I actually rate this book at 3.5 stars, only because of the slightly slow pace.  I did enjoy it and was intrigued enough to purchase the first of the series, The Burning Sky (Halcyon 1)!  If you enjoy stories like The Three Musketeers and Treasure Island, this is right up your alley.  I urge you to give this series a try! 

This review can also be found at JournalStone