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.