Against the Light
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About the Author
Dave Duncan is a prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction, best known for his fantasy series, particularly The Seventh Sword, A Man of His Word, and The Kings Blades. He and his wife Janet, his in-house editor and partner for over fifty years, live in Victoria, British Columbia. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is the first in an apparent series; the basic plot is not especially original. An oppressive dominant religion suppresses an older, more humane religion that welcomes and shelters gifted individuals. An attractive set of four siblings, adherents of the old religion, follow individual paths set by their distinctive personalities and gifts. Their actions plausibly follow from their personalities, which are deftly described, differentiated, and convincing, with a skill that is too often lacking in genre fiction.
The plot moves along steadily and clearly. The book is a good length, with enough in it to solidly fill a proper book without adulterating additives. The ending is fine, a bit open-ended, which results from its need to provide hooks for the next volume in the series.
I'm sorry to see that there are so few reviews for DD's recent books; he's been doing this for a long time, and his craft is thoroughly polished. He doesn't need to experiment, or flail around "finding his voice". He just reliably turns out one satisfying read after another, and "Against the Light" is another success.
a family of "witches" faces prejudice and persecution.
Finally they end up having to flee England like the Pilgrims
did. The witches have PSI abilities that can be trained
and have familiars that attach themselves to them at an early age.
One family in particular has very power inherited powers:
the Woodbridges. It is their passage though the Earth Mother cult's mole holes
that comprise a lot of this story. Much like Christians in
Rome, an underground society exists in parallel
to the orthodox Light church that the King supports.
Not quite a sword and sorcery fantasy adventure
this novel is still very entertaining and well written.
Duncan artfully breathes life into an old premise of a corrupt church terrorizing an older religion combined with an ailing king plus all the petty venality and corruption that mankind can offer. The usual motives are present in spades - greed, revenge, lust for power, and hope for peace - mixed together with classic bildungsroman character development.
I found the book was a fast read that kept my attention the whole time and found myself postponing chores in order to finish it - always the mark of an enjoyable book. I assume this book is the first of series (or at least I hope it is) but even if it isn't, it stands on its own as a complete book with a satisfying conclusion. Definitely a worthwhile read.
Then it was too violent for me. If you are going to torture someone that is fine. Say you did it and move on. No need to drag it out hour by hour day by day or min by min and tell exactly how many times a man craps on himself or how much urine he has produced.
All the characters came off as cold and selfish. Most were downright lacking common sense and there was no worthy story full of love passion or light as far as I am concerned.
It seems to be more an example occult practice book than a story line.