The Hierarchy, high priests of the religious order the Light, rules both the magical kingdom of Albi and its religion. Worshippers in the old ways of the Earth Mother, clandestinely scattered throughout the land, are persecuted as heretics. And when missionary student Rollo Woodbridge returns to his home in Albi, he is arrested for heresy and treason, setting off a chain of events that puts everyone’s life in jeopardy and plunges the kingdom into chaos.
With Rollo in jail, the treacherous motives of the Hierarchy begin in earnest as Earl Uptree of Norcaster puts the entire Woodbridge family at risk. When two wise women rescue Rollo from prison, the family home is destroyed—but Rollo and his siblings are left alive. While his sister Maddy and his brother Brat swear vengeance, Rollo attempts to broker a peace between the faiths. While Maddy works her way into advantageous positions and Brat joins the underground resistance, Rollo tries desperately to save his kingdom’s future. As plots weave inexorably toward one another and life and death hang in the balance, the family must decide whether to stay and fight or leave Albi forever in the suspenseful, action-packed Against the Light.
©2012 Dave Duncan (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I love mysteries in the style of P.D. James, Rex Stout, Elizabeth Peters, Dave Duncan, etc. I love sci fi written by Issac Asimov (the robot books), Douglas Adams, Jack McDevitt (Alex Benedict series) and Susan Collins. I love fantasy written by Terry Pratchett, and Kim Harrison. I love Kate Morton. I don't like graphic descriptions of violence.
I purchased this book without the usual due diligence, because I could purchase the e-book and the audiobook for only $4. I wanted to try the new whispersync technology, and I have very much enjoyed the Alchemist's Apprentice series. If you haven't read that series, I highly recommend it. But if you are not crazy about brutality and torture in a dark and ugly world, I would skip Against the Light. I can't critique the character building or the plot, because I didn’t choose to spend any time in that world. The "Reading Level" as reported in the Extras section of the e-book is shown as Young Adult but accompanied by parental warnings about prostitution, torture, and murder. Clearly, I am not young enough to enjoy this book, though, in my defense, I really liked Duncan’s Alchemist’s Apprentice series and was swept away with the Hunger Games series.
Yes, this is definitley a great book for those who like to read books with good plots, political intrigues and believable characters, set in a world where magic is present. Dave Duncan is in fact my favourite writer, and I consider his series "The Alchemist" to be his weakest and least interesting books. As always, his characters are very well portrayed, perhaps especially the women.
Against the Light has more in common with the 'Dodec books' in my opinion, since it deals a lot with religious persecution. The plot is set in a fantasy world, but the religious perscution is easily recognized throughout history in the real world.
This was my first encounter with Ralph Lister, but it was a very nice surprise. I liked his performance, and hope to find other books of interest that he has read.
I liked the book very much, but am reluctant to give it a full score, mostly because there is a long and very painful torture scene in the beginning of the book. When you read such descriptions on paper, it is quite easy to just skip the worst parts, but you cannot escape them when you listen. (*spoiler*To those of you as sensitive to explicit violence as I, I can reveal that there is only one such scene)
This is the first Duncan book I've read outside the Alchemist series. It is true that this is a darker world than that of the Alchemist series. But it has a few similar themes, such as religious persecution, as well as likeable protagonists with depth and complexity. Sometimes when you read books from another series by the same author, you end up sorely disappointed and give up. In Duncan's case, however, I am already trying to decide which series to read next. Against the Light convinced me that the Alchemist series was not a fluke, and that Duncan is a solid fantasy writer whose books I will continue to enjoy.
I do feel that this book was set up as though there might be a sequel. There aren't any cliffhangers, and only one loose ends relating to a supporting character. But the world's problems have, if anything, gotten worse. That usually means that a sequel -- or several sequels-- will be coming out to fix all that is wrong with the world.
Unfortunately, Duncan has said that he will not be writing a sequel. I'm disappointed by that, but find it acceptable; I think we too often expect everything to be kittens and rainbows at the end of a series or book. I think there should be room for bittersweet in my library.
I tried to listen to this, but it failed to grab me. The narrator didn't help matters as he didn't enthuse me either. After 15 minutes I gave up.
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