the Pagan Night
Oh What A Lovely War
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