Blood of Ancient Opar by Christopher Paul Carey, Meteor Press Ltd., h/c, $27.00 / p/b, $16.00, Website
Reviewed by Dave Brzeski
Rereading my review of Hadon, King of Opar, the previous volume in this series I am struck with a problem. So many of the things I want to say, I already said in that review.
Once again Christopher Paul Carey helpfully gives us a concise precis of the story so far at the end of the book, which is very useful, even if you’ve read the previous volumes, as it’s a complex saga. One of the frustrations of Hadon, King of Opar was the extreme cliffhanger with which the previous volume left us all hanging. I am by no means the only reader to have almost screamed in frustration for the desperate need to read the next book there and then. Thankfully, this one continues directly from where that volume left off.
Hadon and his allies won their battles at the end of the last book, but unlike so much heroic fiction, we don’t get to quietly forget about the inevitable unrest and suffering that immediately follows such scenarios in real life and continues for many years to come while rebuilding takes place. Hadon finds himself in the middle of some nasty political and religious infighting that threatens to destroy what little is left of Opar.
I mentioned in that other review that this series would be well worth consideration as an epic Game of Thrones style TV show and this latest addition only confirms that. Political, religious intrigue, mass battles and downright awe-inspiring female characters. Hadon’s daughter, La is just sixteen years old, but she terrifies me. The author cleverly mixes her powerful presence with just enough inexperience to make her still seem human.
It’s never easy to review a book like this without giving away too many plot points, so I’ll avoid writing any more about the actual story. This volume brings this series to a close, but, thankfully, there are plans for a Foundation of Kor trilogy (about Hadon’s son Kohr.)
The writing, as always with Christopher Paul Carey is never less than exemplary. I’ve read few authors who can describe a fight, whether between two antagonists, or a mass battle, quite so vividly. He somehow manages to evoke the feel of each of his muses (H. Rider Haggard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip José Farmer) without his style ever seeming archaic. I once described Christopher Paul Carey as the best writer currently working in the classic Heroic Fantasy genre. This book gives me no reason to alter that opinion.
The limited, signed edition hardcovers and paperbacks are available directly from the publisher’s website. At some point it will also be available in Kindle format from Amazon.