Quintessence Sky (Quintessence, #2)
David Walton

Quintessence Sky continues where the events of Quintessence (Tor Books, 2013) left off. At the edge of the flat Earth, a strange fire in the sky burns, altering the balance of the elements and threatening all life on Horizon Island. Matthew Marcheford experiments to determine the cause, while the growing animosity of the manticores and the arrival of more ships from Europe jeopardize the colony’s fragile peace. When Matthew’s fiancee, Catherine Parris, is betrayed and abandoned deep underground, the secrets she uncovers there may be Horizon’s last hope. King Philip of Spain, determined to control quintessence, hires a Jesuit priest named Ramos de Tavera. Ramos unlocks secrets that would give Philip the power to conquer the world, but he hesitates, knowing the king’s ambition and brutality. Instead, he seeks the advice of Princess Elizabeth, imprisoned in the Tower, and his faith in church and country begins to falter. To protect his family from the king’s wrath, Ramos must work together with Matthew and Catherine across thousands of miles to rescue Elizabeth and save the Horizon colony from destruction.

Quintessence Sky (Quintessence, #2) book cover

An utterly delightful read. walton’s put something of a lighter tone into this one; Catherine dies twice over before we start chapter 5. And, although it’s seriously written and supposed to be read as such, the awe and brilliance of the Quintessence powers shines through to give the reader a sense that, somehow, things will turn out well.

“Princess Elizabeth isn’t likely to pay us a visit any time soon” is perhaps my favourite statement of the entire work. And speaking of the princess, she was extremely well done, I think she stands out in this book, although Ramos was also very good.

My only gripe: why not tamarins this time? Yes, yes, I know: Manticoras, it’s already there, and tamarin was an approximation and they aren’t really South American Monkeys. But I did like the word.

A novel that extends the story superbly, and leaves itself open to another one which I hear David is working on and am, as you can doubtless imagine, rather looking forward to reading. If you’ve got book 1, you’ll want to buy this alongside because the two fit together very neatly.

Published by Sean Randall

I am an avid reader, technologist and disability advocate living in the middle of England with my wife, daughter and pets.

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