Solaris, p/b,384pp, Â£7.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins
It is 1653 and in England civil war is finally over. King Charles is dead and Oliver Cromwell rules in parliament. Colonel Richard Treadwell, a staunch royalist, knows the man before him intends to kill him. It is a fight to the death, but Treadwell chose this. A chance to live. A chance for freedom.
Treadwell finds himself in exile, his wife and child lost to him, his honour taken. When he is given the option of working for the King of France for a good wage and a second chance at life, the choice is easily made.
Unfortunately for Treadwell, his second chance at life will too soon clash with the first when he learns that someone in power in England is in league with the devil.Â Ciphers, ghosts, beasts, demons and an abandoned mistress all vie for his attention as he returns to his home country and embarks on a mission, first to ensure his wife and child are taken care of, and secondly to save the country from dark magic, and all the while he has his own demons to deal with.
As a protagonist Treadwell exudes confidence and surety. Whether he faces dangerous sword-wielding foes or dark beasts not of this world he stands his ground. He is continually surprised and put on the back foot, yet somehow manages to retain his sanity and his belief that good will prevail.
Gideonâ€™s Angel is historical fantasy that smoothly combines real characters with fictional ones to create a gripping and entertaining story. Dâ€™Artagnan himself takes on a secondary role in the book and Beal successfully retains the arrogance and self-confidence one expects from the character, despite him only playing a relatively minor part in the narrative.
The pace is good, though at times moves rather quickly over major events which leaves little chance for the reader, or the characters, to reflect on what has happened before they are plunged into the next scene, though the amount of action packed into a relatively short book is impressive and helps to retains attention. On the whole this is an enjoyable read and fans of historical fantasy will be satisfied.