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This book is an excellent read.  If you like supernatural beings with lots of action, you’ll  enjoy this story, but if you like a bit of depth and complexity with a hero who has his own issues, weaknesses and fallibilities as well, then you’ll love it.

The story opens with a set piece of the hero, Jordan, rescuing a girl from werewolves, but right from the start the story shows he is interestingly different from your average supernatural hero.  Jordan doesn’t fight the werewolves, he just shows his six fingered hand and declares his name and the werewolves go away.  But they won’t be gone for long, Jordan explains, as he’s a wanted man and the werewolves are off to claim a prize from those that seek him.  We don’t know why he’s wanted but it is clearly by some very nasty and very powerful supernatural beings, and they want to do something awful to him – something worse than death.

Jordan calls himself a coward and is self deprecating but he is no coward.  He has no super powers so, now that the werewolves have found him, he must once again leave town, to stay in hiding as he has already done for many centuries.  But then Desdaemona, a powerful daemon, finds him, and she wants him to help her find her sister who has run away from other supernatural powers.   He offers to help her but at a huge risk as he is no longer in hiding.

The story then develops into a complex series of fights and last-minute escapes as we gradually learn about Jordan, Desdaemona and her sister.  The final scenes are especially good and complex right to the last paragraph.

The story is well written.  I could find no faults in grammar, spelling, voice, pace or storyline.  It is easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable.

The plot is based on “Overcoming the Monster” (see The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker), although, there are complexities even in this plot.

I give it the following positive awards, which the author will probably like.  Each award is out of five.

• Four hobbits for a hero who is self deprecating but brave and resourceful.
• Three Andromeda Robots for a brilliant portrayal of a female fighter who is beautiful, powerful and believable.

This story had no failures worthy of a negative award – yes it’s that good.

To summarize, this is a really good story, complex, fast paced with all-too-human characters and unusual supernatural powers.  I recommend it to any reader of fantasy.

Desdaemona
By Ben Macallan (aka Chaz Brenchley)
Published by Solaris (2011)

Review by Wayne J. Harris

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