Sunday, 31 January 2016
The Shock of Night
When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded, Willet Dura, reeve to the king of Bunard, is called to investigate. As he begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.
Willet returns to his task, but the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers, and his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, as though he can divine their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he's been passed the rarest gift of all - a gift that's not supposed to exist.
Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he's pulled into a dangerous conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world--a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his inability to remember how he escaped the Darkwater Forest - and what happened to him inside it.
Wow, this was a fantasy novel unlike any others that I've read! It's not your typical fantasy about witches, spells, dragons, etc. It reads like a medieval mystery story, with the added element of "gifts" given to mankind - and one in particular is quite supernatural.
The main character, Willet Dura, is a reeve to the king, in what I would describe as similar in scope to a homicide detective. He's called when there's been a murder, and it is up to him to question witnesses and find the culprit. He is an interesting character for while he holds what one would think is an esteemed position, he is scorned by the society in general, and has many enemies at court. Perhaps not helping his reputation is his strange fascination with death - so much so, he will attend the kingdom's "hospice" when an individual is near the end, wanting desperately to know what the dying person "sees", and if there is truly a hereafter. The one thing he truly lives for, however, is his love, Gael, and he looks forward to their impending wedding with no small amount of eagerness.
With a complex main character, it is by necessity that the story be equally elaborate. Indeed, it is intricate, and multi-layered, and as Willet goes about his investigation into the deaths of the priest and his guard, each new clue he discovers just leads to more questions than answers. When he is granted a gift of sight into a person's mind, it becomes a blessing and a curse. For with it, a person's guilt can be determined with a simple touch. However, it is a gift equally fiercely protected and sought after, thereby endangering Willet's life more than ever before.
The Shock of Night is guaranteed to keep the reader enthralled until the final page is read - and wishing desperately there was at least one more chapter!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.