Gateway of the Saviours. Book Review

gateway-savioursGATEWAY OF THE SAVIOURS by A J Dalton

Gollancz, h/b, 464pp, £14.99

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

Jillan is back in Godsend and working through his grief. The town is being rebuilt and things seem more positive, but the taint is still with him and still tormenting him. He is surrounded by his friends and allies but they have their own demons to battle in the aftermath of the confrontation between Saint Azual and the Lord of Mayhem, and Jillan is not sure who has his best interests at heart.

Praxis, the minister who started Jillan’s troubles and caused so much havoc is now a Saint. His promotion by the Saviours has granted him and army and he marches back to Godsend, his target that which will hurt Jillan, the bane as he is now known, the most.

Ba’zel is unstable. That is what they all keep telling him, his father and his tutor, unstable, and therefore, unworthy. It is time for Ba’zel to learn how to move through rock and seek his own way in the world. Meanwhile Aspin has returned to the mountains with the contrary Torpeth at his side. It is time to see if he can find a place amongst his own people.

Gateway of the Saviours is the second book in this series and introduces some new characters as well as continuing the tales of Jillan and his familiar and colourful companions, all of whom have their own distinct voices, the Peculiar arguably having the strongest and most distinct of them all with his perfect blend of arrogance and feigned innocence. The characterisation in here is of an excellent standard.

Perhaps the greatest strength of Dalton’s writing, however, is the wit he manages to infuse into some, if not all, of the characters at one time or another. The scenes with Torpeth, the naked warrior, are particularly amusing, and really help to lift the reader’s spirits from the numerous and arduous struggles that the narrative negotiates.

The downside of this book is that there are so many characters taking point of view roles, and so many minor characters who are also given voice from time to time, so it does take a great deal of concentration to keep them and their various missions and desires all in mind. A dramatis personae would definitely be of use, but this is nevertheless a strong continuation of this epic fantasy story.