When a lord’s city is filled with secrets he can sense but not see; when the enemies he once beat seem determined to win again, and when they are strangely adept at disappearing, and strangely adept at reappearing; when frauds come with lying blessings and lying relics, and win the hearts of a lord’s subjects – when all this happens, what is a lord to do?
Flee, I guess.
Martyr’s Fire is the third book in the Merlin’s Immortals series. Written by Sigmund Brouwer, Merlin’s Immortals takes readers back to the fourteenth century, and to things even older yet – the Druids, and Merlin.
In Martyr’s Fire, Brouwer maintains the historical mien of the earlier books, along with the carefully woven web of hidden truths, conspiracies, and mistrust. Certain things are different in this outing. In some ways the scope of the novel is wider here – Brouwer took his readers to a more diverse array of settings, and made greater use of England’s legends.
In other ways, though, the scope of the book is more limited. Few new characters were introduced, and none of them became principal characters. While the plots of the earlier books revolved around taking a city and going to war, Martyr’s Fire has more the air of a personal quest, a few people on an adventure.
And I enjoyed it. Of all three books in the series, I like this third one most; to be honest, I liked it more than I expected to based on the first books. Not that The Orphan King and Fortress of Mist were bad, but somehow I reached a new level of enjoyment with Martyr’s Fire. I even enjoyed the writing style more.
Two other things I appreciated about this book: I appreciated the heroine, full of intelligence and spark, and every inch the hero’s equal; and I appreciated that though Brouwer portrays the darkness that existed in the Catholic Church, he does provide glimmers of the light.
As a whole, this series has a low level of violence, for which I salute the author. Too many writers fall prey to the idea that nothing is exciting until somebody dies.
Martyr’s Fire is an interesting novel, with a wealth of intriguing historical details and a clever fusing of mythic elements into the actual world. The cast of characters is also interesting, and occasionally fun. Recommended – Martyr’s Fire, and Merlin’s Immortals.