Review: Although I’d read books by Jane Fletcher before, I initially had difficulty getting into this novel. Granted, it was the fifth book released in the Celaeno series but it actually takes place earlier in the timeline, so it’s a “prequel” of sorts. I usually don’t have a problem accepting new ideas, scenes and storylines, and didn’t with “Shadow of the Knife”. In fact, I actually like being “dropped” into a new world and have to figure things out as I go. Don’t be put-off by the series numbers however, for each are stated as being capable of “standing alone.”
One thing I really appreciate about Jane Fletcher’s writing is the level of professionalism and attention to detail which keeps the plot focused. No random scenes or occurrences are simply inserted for effect, nor are emotions too extreme to accept. Sometimes there are aspects of the characters I might find personally exasperating, or a facet of the romantic scenes which I question, but I respect the writer’s vision.
The pace is progressive, balanced, with no real lags in action and a very fine climax after a clear build-up in action. I found main character, Ellen Mittal believable in the face of the escalating violence and deceptions, though I found her love interest, Hal, more compelling. I liked the intrigue of a kind of anti-hero, and the thought-provoking ending would certainly inspire readers to read the other books in the series. I eventually found “Shadow of the Knife” to be well-worth the read.
Description: Militia rookie Ellen Mittal is well aware that the world cannot be reduced to simple questions of black and white, but she has no idea of just how complex and dangerous her life is about to become. The most vicious gang in the Homelands, led by the infamous Butcher, is extending its operations to Roadsend.
By her oath as a member of the Militia, Ellen is sworn to uphold the rule of law, no matter what the cost to herself. But as the body count starts to rise, Ellen finds her task made all the harder by a wall of silence from ordinary citizens, a commanding officer with her head in the sand, and the attentions of an attractive young farmer who is probably not who she claims to be. Ellen must work out who to trust, because if she gets it wrong she might easily lose her heart, or her life.
Publisher/Buy Link: Bold Strokes Books
Genre: Fantasy, Lesbian Fiction
Book Length: Novel, 312 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60282-008-1 (e-book), 978-1-60282-008-1 (paperback)
Disclaimer: THIS REVIEW WAS COMPLETED FOR QMO Books, AND ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 3 March, 2010. PLEASE VIEW THEIR WEBSITE TO SEE ALL REVIEWS AVAILABLE.
Jane Fletcher is a GCLS award-winning writer and has also been short-listed for the Gaylactic Spectrum and Lambda Literary awards. She is author of two ongoing sets of fantasy/romance novels: the Celaeno series—The Walls of Westernfort, Rangers at Roadsend, The Temple at Landfall, Dynasty of Rogues, and Shadow of the Knife; and the Lyremouth Chronicles—The Exile and The Sorcerer, The Traitor and The Chalice, The Empress and The Acolyte, and The High Priest and the Idol.
Her love of fantasy began at the age of seven when she encountered Greek Mythology. This was compounded by a childhood spent clambering over every example of ancient masonry she could find (medieval castles, megalithic monuments, Roman villas). Her resolute ambition was to become an archaeologist when she grew up, so it was something of a surprise when she became a software engineer instead.
Born in Greenwich, London, in 1956, she now lives in southwest England where she keeps herself busy writing both computer software and fiction, although generally not at the same time.
(From the Bold Strokes Books and Goodreads.com websites)