Sunday, September 18, 2016

Widdershins and widdershins

I actually finished Mark Chadbourn's World's End (book one in the Age of Misrule trilogy) a few days ago, but as I was out in the wilderness and not inclined to try to post a review from a phone....

We start, as with most heroic yarns, with the oblivious Church out for a walk while he laments the much earlier death of his love. Which takes up a few pages before he sees a pale woman washing an object in the Thames. Upon closer inspection, it would appear that said woman was washing Church's severed head. We then meet ruth, a lawyer, who winds up meeting church not long after, as they both confront a larger than average man busy killing another man under a bridge.

What follows from here is much like an RPG campaign, as they get thrown into a quest by a woman who evidently lives under the hills to use a lantern called the wayfinder to find a stone, a spear, a sword, and a cauldron.

This also includes no one seemingly knowing that strange things are afoot until a dragon attacks the M4, the Erl King leads the Wild Hunt through Southern England, and suddenly witch magick starts working better than normal.

We meet Veitch, who killed a man; Laura, a cynic; Shavi, the pansexual Easterner; and Tom, who can never lie and seems to have a much better idea than everyone else as to what's actually going on.

I was quite fortunate in my place of camping to have people more familiar with Celtic lore to help me make sense of some of the things going on, since honestly, I'm more familiar with the Christianized stories being discussed here, like Excalibur and the Holy Grail. Which do come up, since the overall theme seems to be one of the objects being something that no story could ever hold the whole truth of.

Another thing I learned in this book was what Formori actually are. (For those of you who have played in the Classic World of Darkness setting, you likely know the word from there. I didn't realize the root was in beings of darkness in Celtic lore.)

While it ends on a kind of down note, the first quest being completed but not in a happy way, I look forward to finishing the series over time as the books come in.

(I'm still recovering from camping, this review is not up to my usual snuff.)