The Eye of Strife
Dave Duncan

Sword fights and romance, miracles and mystery, treachery and sly humour….A god summons a curious assortment of witnesses to his temple to testify on what they know about a jewel that was lost a thousand years ago. At least one of them is guilty. Others are lying…. Dave Duncan at his devious best.

The Eye of Strife book cover

“The imperial bed would sleep a dozen warriors or four horses, but it contained only one man, dying in lonely ordeal, as all mortals must.”

Duncan’s re-visiting old themes with his latter works, it would seem. I mentioned that the Starfolk had similarities to the Seventh Sword series last year. This one holds a similar narrative style to the second of the Omar books, where characters add to a narrative in turn to unfold a story.

There are some memorable characters here, particularly those little ones Duncan excels at dropping in (did you notice the old miner?). The gods do seem prolific in their interventions, but then it is a short work in contrast to others of his, where they’ve had whole series to unravel their games.

The language is, as ever, exquisite. Defenestrated ! What a word! And my favourite dialogue throughout any of Duncan’s published works in the last 3 years has to be “Why don’t you stop that disgusting concupiscence?” Marvelous, marvelous sentence.

Of course, a proofread mightn’t go amiss, there were a couple of missing n’s – “a open carriage” etc, and a then instead of a than somewhere. Hard to find using automated tools, but they stick out a mile when you read out loud.

So, Duncan’s best? No. Not by a long shot. But certainly not a poor showing, with enough subtle nuances that I’ll reread one day.

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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