Gav Thorpe – The Crown Of The Blood

Normally the back cover of a book usually either says too little or too much about it, giving away too much of the plot. Only in some cases they publisher manages to put in sufficient information without giving any details away. With The Crown Of The Blood (2010) by Gav Thorpe it turned out to be neither of those cases. In fact, while I progressed through the novel I could only conclude that the book cover seemed to written about some other book. True, there were some points that did agree, but whoever wrote that cover either didn’t really know what it was about or just glanced through it.

The Crown Of The Blood is a high fantasy novel with a very low fantastic element in it. Thorpe follows some typical military tropes to tell his story although he puts it in an original setting. The pacing is moderate although the plot development is fairly fast. Military affairs take up the brunt of the story, but Thorpe does not spend much time on battles, sticking mainly to the top command, which also is taken by the main character of the novel. The plot itself is entertaining enough although it is not much that out of the ordinary. There are some nice twists, but Thorpe has a destination to reach that in the end does get where it intended to be. That does take out some of the anticipation, although there the road taken and the way Thorpe tells his story prevents the reader from getting bored or the story becoming a drag.

Besides following the main character Thorpe has two other major narratives that provide some extra insight in events. One of the narratives is actually not that well chosen, although it does contain the most dramatic storyline, so the character was chosen for that reason and not for the perspective. There are also some minor points of view. Thorpe only uses those were he we wants to add something extra and they don’t get much extra.

The character development is rather minor. Only one character undergoes several changes. Most of the others, including the central character, don’t seem much shaken by the turn of events they come across. The main character himself is rather strange. For an important military commander he seems to think and behave more like a soldier than a general and throughout the novel he remains rather straightforward and naive in his actions. There is nothing special about him and it is more the weakness of the opposition and his unwillingness to show his strength that allow him to move events.

Despite the mundane nature of the story and the peculiar central character, the plot does contain a hidden secret, a mystery that held my interest throughout the novel. On the background something was going on and Thorpe barely gave anything away about it. I am still intrigued about it and it is this which want me to read the next novel as the story is far from done. Thorpe also set the story in an original setting that is different from the usual fantasy fare, creating a society and culture that may not be particularly complex, but is at least different and something else. I really like it when authors take that step and it certainly is a stimulant for my ongoing interest.

 

 

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