Investigator Lom returns to Mirgorod and finds the city in the throes of a crisis. The war against the Archipelago is not going well. Enemy divisions are massing outside the city, air-raids are a daily occurrance and the citizens are being conscripted into the desperate defence of the city.
But Lom has other concerns. The police are after him, the mystery of the otherworldly Pollandore remains and the vast Angel is moving, turning all of nature against the city.
But will the horrors of war overtake all their plans?
Vissarion Lom and Maroussia Shaumian return in the second book of Peter Higgins’ Wolfhound Century trilogy, Truth and Fear. With the nation in tatters after the assassination of it’s leader, the two must make their way into the heart of Mirgorod if they are to divert disaster. However, as the armies of the enemy are slowly closing in on the city and the people in charge of Mirgorod have their own motives and secret plans, not just for the city but for the entire world, will they be able to do what needs to be done?
If you’ve read my review of Wolfhound Century, you’ll know that I felt a lot was riding on this book as the previous story spent a lot of time setting things up, sometimes to the detriment of it’s own pacing. Thankfully, my belief that Peter Higgins knew what he was doing has paid off in spades. Now that we know the key players and the stakes involved, Higgins wastes no time and the story hits the ground running. War has arrived at Mirgogod, the fate of a nation will be decided and a mysterious creation known as the Pollandore may hold to the key to saving or ending the future as we know it.
This book wastes no time in making use of what has gone before it, which leads to much better pacing, as Vissarion and Maroussia try to reach the Pollandore in time, whilst their enemy (Chazia) does her best to stop them at every turn using whatever means are necessary. We get to see Virrarion and Maroussia grow closer to each other as they embrace the daunting task before them, and we are even given slightly more information about just who exactly Vissarion is, as he starts to learn about his past and the latent powers that are growing stronger inside of him. Chazia’s endless quest for power sees her becoming even more unhinged and this makes her a great antagonist, one who will stop at nothing to get what she desires. Josef Kantor takes more of a backstage role this time out but his scheming seems to be starting to bear fruit and I expect we’ll see much more of him in the next book.
The world is still as wondrous as before and the mixing of reality and fantasy still works well, though as war is one of the main themes of this book, the fantasy does slightly take second seat to the blitz-like attacks as the enemy moves closer to Mirogod. There is still evidence of the fantasy world all around, and a new character called Antoninu Florian (a strange and deadly man with a secret and an agenda that are yet to fully revealed) is definitely an intriguing addition, especially when it turns out that he’s a formidable companion for Vissarion, a man for whom the odds aren’t exactly stacking up in his favour.
Unlike the previous book, the finale is this one feels all the more satisfying. There is a slow but steady build up to it, it is exciting and this time, even though there are still many questions to be answered, you’ll really feel like the story has come to satisfying end, whilst also knowing that whatever comes next will definitely be worth the wait.
So why should you read this book:
- A much better paced story.
- The world (both in terms of fantasy and reality elements) is becomnig more realised as it gets bigger.
- Characters are much better explored.
- A finale that will leave you busting for the next book.
What’s not to like:
- Not enough Kantor.
- Information on certain events/ creatures still remains a little too vague.
Truth and Fear is everything you want in a sequel. It expands on what has gone before and gives us a deeper look at the world and the characters. The pacing will leave you wanting to get to the next chapter as fast as possible and unlike the first book, the finale is extremely satisfying whilst also setting up even more mysteries to be discovered in the next book.