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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Pursuit of William AbbeyThe Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a historical fantasy, it starts very slow and stays very close to its historical roots, from the Boer War and onward toward the first World War, being very English but then, again, not at all. It's an indictment and a commentary in all the best ways.

But then it becomes fantastical in a way that I'm very familiar with when it comes to Claire North's writing. Slow and steady and exquisitely detailed always eventually becomes a huge rebellion/revolt/epic-tragedy. It's almost crazy to think that ANY otherwise slow-moving and lush historical tale could go... so BIG. But it does. And it is wonderful.

Fans of Claire North know that she takes a Big Idea, a fantasy or SF rule, and runs with it while drilling down deep into the full implications of it.

In this one, it's Love. The pursuit is one of a curse, a shadow, that steadily moves toward the cursed, eventually always killing the ones he or she loves most in the world.

So why not join the spy corps, keep on the move, and never love?

It sounds good on paper. But of course, life and long life, at that, makes this a very dicey proposition. Scary and sad and very, very tragic.

I will mention that this one is a really hard one to get through. If you're looking for something light, stay away from it. But if you want something that will tear your heart apart, look no farther.

Really gorgeous. But so very difficult, too.

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