Thursday, March 2, 2017

Why is it always Spiders?

If this comes off a bit odd, understand I'm listening to When We Rise as I'm typing. I really need to get the book of it and soon.

Anyway, either I misread Goodreads listing, or I didn't, since Mark Chadbourn's Jack of Ravens seems to be set after-ish The Dark Age. Although it's more of a direct sequel to Age of Misrule. And since it involves quantum flux and time travel, it takes some time to figure out what the heck is actually going on.

See, we start with Jack Church in the Bronze Age, where he landed at the end of  Age of Misrule. Only problem is that he now has a spider on him that seems to be leeching his memories. It eventually comes off, but he no longer has any real memory of the events of the previous series, other than that he loves Ruth. Somewhere along the line, he and 4 others among the Celtic tribe he lives amongst wake up the Pendragon Spirit and become the Brothers of Dragons. Again.

And then they die. Except Jack, who made the mistake of eating and drinking Niamh's food and drink that wasn't given freely and without obligation. Which means he's in the Far Lands on and off through the book, when not dealing with what's known as The Army of Ten Billion Spiders.

The goal is to collect the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons before the 5 who are part of the Void can claim them. (All of whom are dead members of Church's pentads. Lead by Veitch. Who doesn't seem to have let death slow him down.) We also have The Libertine, who's the semi-human face of the anti-life.

We go forward through time, with scenes set throughout the eras, including a trip to Elizabethan England, where we run into William Swyfte, the main character in the Swords of Albion series. Who helps Chruch and company try to recover the Anubis Box and the Crystal Skull from the Spanish Salazar.

Which doesn't go well. Mind you, we also meet Dr. John Dee, who passes on a bunch of information on Gnostic thought. Which gets echoed in the 1960's by Timothy Leary. (Who's not dead, he's only sleeping.)

Somewhere in here, we meet The Puck, who's again given a shadowy backstory.

There's a lot to process in here, since the Army of Ten Billion Spiders is working through time to negate the events of The Dark Age. Which really screws with the chronology, since Laura, Ruth, and Shavi never unite. Or at least don't try to unite until towards the end, even with Jack sending messages through time. And the involvement of the Seeliegh Court. And yet another explanation of the term Croatan.

It's a good read, even as it switches around much of the narrative from the prior trilogy. And we even get treated to a scene involoving Loki being corrupted by Spiders during th eBlitz. That alone made it interesting.