the Pa­gan Night

Oh What A Lovely War

SFX - - Reviews - Tim Ak­ers’ dad is a the­olo­gian; maybe why his world-build­ing gen­er­ally starts with “a sin­gle the­o­log­i­cal truth”.

re­leased 19 Jan­uary 576 pages | Pa­per­back/ebook au­thor Tim ak­ers Pub­lisher Ti­tan Books

It’s easy to be put off this epic fan­tasy. Game Of Thrones casts a long shadow, and any­thing fea­tur­ing bluff, tough men of the North will im­me­di­ately raise eye­brows. The Pa­gan Night’s pla­ce­names feel clumsy – Hound­hal­low, Green­hall, Cin­der­fell. How­ever, the story is ac­tu­ally a pretty solid one. Yes, there’s an in­evitable North-vs-South con­flict as the south and the Ce­les­tial church seek to wipe out any lin­ger­ing north­ern traces of the old faith they blame for sum­mon­ing demons into the world, but Tim Ak­ers doesn’t re­duce it to a tale of two hemi­spheres and is ca­pa­ble of writ­ing bat­tle scenes that can hold your at­ten­tion.

If The Pa­gan Night has a flaw, it’s that it’s a lit­tle cosy. The mid­dle-aged Lord of Hound­hal­low, Mal­colm Blak­ley, is gruff and heroic and love­able. His son Ian is im­petu­ous and fool­hardy but ba­si­cally like­able, as is Huntress of the Fen, Gwen Adair. Jedi-like monk Frair Lu­cas? Ex­tremely pow­er­ful, and love­able. With so many nice char­ac­ters, it’s a won­der war ever breaks out, and Ak­ers cer­tainly doesn’t be­lieve in killing his dar­lings.

Not ex­actly Game Of Thrones, then. In­stead, this is an old-style chunky fan­tasy, as com­fort­ing as a pair of slip­pers. Miriam McDon­ald

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