Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Unholy War Unholy War
by David Hair
Jo Fletcher Books

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Unholy War is the third volume in David Hair’s Moontide quartet, which is a shorthand way of saying that the action and adventure have taken place but that the story is not over yet.

As with the other books in this series there are multiple viewpoint characters and multiple scenes of action separated by thousands of kilometres. Some of the characters cross paths as their peregrinations around the invaded countries of Ahmedhassa (to the locals) or Antiopia (to the invaders) brings them into contact. For some this is a joyful reunion and an opportunity to trade news, both personal and strategic. For others the encounters are less than friendly, in fact the engagements are often with extreme prejudice to the continued health of both parties; frequently some characters die.

But this book is not a hack and slash fest as the above would suggest. Alaron and Ramita are now travelling together; he hoping to unravel the secrets of the Scytale of Corineus, and she in search of a safe haven for herself and her two babies. They are being pursued by two equally dangerous and mutually antagonistic groups that are both trying to get hold of the scytale. Ramon, Alaron’s best friend at the mage academy back home in Norostein is leading a remnant Rondian army out of southern Ahmedhassa by the long way in the hopes of avoiding the force that butchered it so effectively at a battle the Rondians were set up to lose by their own high command. And Elena is waging her ongoing campaign of attrition against her former employer and lover Gurvon Gyle. And he in turn is playing his own games of cross and double-cross in order to secure his own precarious future.

Through all these stories the author is maintaining a credible social, political and economic backdrop whilst creating and maintaining distinct and identifiable characters. At no point have I felt that the story has been populated with interchangeable, twenty first century people spouting and displaying anachronistic thoughts and attitudes. The story has been a delight to read. I look forward to the final volume with high hopes and heavily bated breath.

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