Friday, 24 June 2011

The Road to Bedlam by Mike Shevdon (Book Review)

“There’s been an accident. It’s your daughter.” These are the words no parent ever wants to hear.

“Learning to cope with the loss of a child is only the beginning of the new challenges facing Niall Petersen. An old enemy has returned and Niall already knows it’s not a social call. As the new Warder of the Seven Courts he will be forced to choose between love and honour, duty and responsibility.”

This is the second book in Mike Shevdon’s The Court of Feyre series which follows SIXTY-ONE NAILS, when Niall Petersen discovered via a heart attack on the London underground that he had inherited ‘fey powers’,. This introduced Niall into the hidden world of magic and the Courts of Feyre, of which the Untainted are the darkest of the Seven Courts.

Following on the heels of SIXTY-ONE NAILS, Niall Petersen becomes a new Warder with the responsibility of protecting the High Council of the Seven Fayre Courts, and cleaning up after individual Fayre who go beyond their bounds.

Alex, Niall’s daughter, is involved in a terrible school mishap when her fey powers go out of control. Thinking her dead, Niall grieves; yet, through an unexpected communication through a bathroom mirror he learns that Alex is still alive.

Complicating matters are the return of Lord Altar, and two guests, Raffmir and Deefnir, wraithkins of the Seventh Court. Being the Untainted, they have a determined agenda to rid the world of all part human-part fey ‘mongrels’. To alleviate tensions Garvin, the Head Warder, sends Niall on a special assignment acting as a journalist to investigate missing girls in a northern seaside location in England. While there Niall, whose paternal cares threaten to overwhelm him as he struggles to maintain his Warder training against searching for his missing daughter.

Blackbird, who had rescued Niall in the underground in the first book, returns as his new partner. She is heavily pregnant with their first child who will be part fey/human. Aware of her vulnerability during pregnancy, with no magical powers, she assists Niall where she can.

Raffmir is a magnificent antagonist and despite his charming mannerisms is utterly ruthless. He lures Niall into assisting him in rescuing Alex from her confinement. Rather than to go into too much spoiler detail, their activities in the lead-up to the ending is superb, racheting up the suspense.

The pacing and attention to detail are spot on, with assorted exciting incidents within that are certain to please the reader. A few such scenarios were: Niall’s encounter during a dream-state of carnivorous plants in a forested glade; and discovering a vicar had inherited ‘power’. All sub-plot threads were tied up at the end except for a few that will obviously be dealt with in the following books of the series.

Mr. Shevdon’s expertise in martial arts rings through with the sets of swordplay and developing the concept of other realms in the void beyond our known existence. Books 3 and 4 of the series are being published by Angry Robot Books, of which I look forward to reading.

The review copy was provided by Lee Harris, with many thanks.

Book format: paperback, 528 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot Books
Author website: Mike Shevdon
Available: November 2010
Also in ebook.


Charles Gramlich said...

I just wince when I hear that stories feature a child or even an older son or daughter who is injured. As a parent, it's usually just too much for me.

Barbara Martin said...

Many children or teenagers learn through their experiences of various incidents in their lives. Even the tragic scenarios.

Alex goes through enormous challenges in the context of this story and will, I expect, be appearing in the future books of this series.

Charles, youngsters have a survival instinct that supersedes adults and they adjust quite well, providing they are given that opportunity by adults who can keep their emotions in check. Tragedies occur daily, not just in books.

Mr. Shevdon does an admirable job in creating the feelings of a distraught parent over the plight of his missing daugther, as well as how the daughter deals with her ordeal. He's got all the pscyhological patterns down pat complete with resolution.

Reb said...

Oh, you made me want to go out and find it and the first one! Intriguing.

Leah J. Utas said...

Most interesting. Dark makes things exciting.

Reader Wil said...

The book looks a bit like the Lord of the Rings books, and a bit like the Harry Potter books as well.. One hopes that there is a happy ending!I like this kind of books.
Thanks for your comment on the Wizart of Christchurch. You might have a point in saying that his ladder is a kind of stairway to heaven. I hadn't thought of that.

RuneE said...

I see that you keep up on your reading and writing! I must admit that it would be hard going for a parent with four children to get such a message - and with black magic involved too :-)

PS Thank you for the comments! I do have a number of photos from that excursion (three of the ones on that page plus my current header were shot then) that I have not posted. I was not quite satisfied with them, and I haven't had any time to edit them properly either. Maybe some day ...

Barbara Martin said...

Reb, there are great descriptions of the various characters, of whom I hope Mr. Shevdon keeps creating.

Barbara Martin said...

Leah, dark makes an excellent conflict with different routes in coming to a resolution of vanquishing it.

Barbara Martin said...

RuneE, the black magic pertains to one of the groups of fayre/fairie. There are dark areas in many peoples lives which need to be brought to the light (no pun). Mr. Shevdon has good (white) elements within his books.

Perhaps one of these days I'll write a short story based on one of your photos of Norway.

Editor said...

As always, you've convinced me to buy another book!

Barbara Martin said...

Editor, nice to see you back. Happy reading.