by Mick Farren
Category: Fiction / Historical
416 pages; ISBN: 0765306565
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Tor, Aug 2004, $27.95, 416 pp.
Weary of his abusive stepfather Herman Kretch, Argo Weaver considers killing him while he sleeps before fleeing his East Virginia home prior to the Mosul occupying force arresting him. Concerned over leaving his mother and two sisters without protection from the oppressors, instead of murdering him he lets Kretch live while the teen flees to the north for the freedoms of the beleaguered Kingdom of Albany.
Albany aristocrat Cordelia Blakeney is more fashion conscious as she paid a seamstress to alter her military uniform to make it look just right as befitting a Lady in the Royal Women’s Auxiliary. When she rides a dirigible with a lover that crashes, she is caught by the forces of Teutonic Colonel Phaal, ally of the Mosul. In camp she meets Phaal’s sex slave Jessamine. Meanwhile crossing the ocean from Spain is Raphael Vega, a draftee whose unit is expected to make a suicide run in the first Mosul invasion of Albany. These four must become the magical The Four to counter the supernatural allies of the Mosuls or the last vestiges of freedom will be trampled.
This exciting alternate history fantasy is filled with adventure, four delightful protagonists, fully developed antagonists, and numerous humorous takes on the late twentieth century real bombastic rich and famous people. The story line is action packed even when Mick Farren introduces the quartet of champions as each has a “destined” path towards one another to merge in battle against supernatural foes. Though the climax leaves too many threads dangling ending with fantasy readers’ most dreaded phrase: “to be continued”, fans will appreciate this strong tale.
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