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    Review of AGAINST THE LIGHT by Dave Duncan

    47North, January 2012

    Supported by the King, the priests of the light wage war on those who remain faithful to the older religion and its magic. Because some of the followers of the old ways have considerable wealth, there are some added benefits of attacking them--their properties make nice additions for faithful nobles. When their eldest son and heir is arrested, one family of those who refuse to follow the light finds themselves in danger and ultimately scattered. The heir, Rollo rockets to lead the followers of the old ways. Sexy Maddy uses what few powers a woman can have in the male-dominated society of the Light to worm her way into a position where she can take revenge on those who destroyed her family and stole their property. Youngest son Brat rebels against the peaceful opposition proclaimed by the old faith. With his powerful magic, he can take direct action against those who murdered his parents--but can the underground really change anything or are they playing into the hands of those in the church of Light who will use violent opposition to justify seizing even more power, cracking down on any who are less than completely trustworthy and purging the nation of any dissent?

    Author Dave Duncan (see more reviews of SF/Fantasy by Duncan) delivers an exciting fantasy adventure. His descriptions of the powerful and often destructive impact of church on state accurately describe many historical periods in human history, provide a warning to us today, and allow him a fun twist on the traditional "against the darkness" spin of many fantasy and SF stories.

    For me, the three primary character arcs worked. Rollo was slow and steady, perhaps a bit too perfect but with the violence of his initial torture, curse and escape to round him out. Brat was impetuous, but who wouldn't be with his background. Maddy was the traditional evil queen of fantasy (think Cersei Lannister from George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire) who uses her sex for intrigue to undermine the powerful and support her own family, but because we see her transformation, we admire rather than reject her.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 3/07/12

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