In the country, fishing boats return with their crews mysteriously vanished, while farms are left empty, their owners gone into the night, meals still on the table. In the cities, children disappear from the streets or even out of their own beds. The King tells his people that it is the work of selkies – mythical creatures who can turn from seals into men and back again – and witches. But no matter how many women he burns at the stake, the children are still being taken.The blurb above sums up this novel opening fairly well. As well as Fallon, we are also introduced to Prince Cavan, who is involved in his own investigation of strange occurrences in the capital city. While Fallon is concerned with selkie rumours, Cavan is dealing with accusations of witchcraft (not directed at him). I'm enjoying The Last Quarrel so far and I'm looking forward to getting through the rest of the novel.
Fallon is a man who has always dreamed of being a hero. His wife Bridgit just wants to live in peace and quiet, and to escape the tragedies that have filled her life. His greatest wish and her worst nightmare are about to collide.
When an empty ship sails into their village, he begins to follow the trail towards the truth behind the evil stalking their land. But it is a journey that will take them both into a dark, dark place and nobody can tell them where it might end...
I was sort of expecting this episode to end on an artificial cliffhanger, you know, to make people want to read the next one straight away. There sort of was, but it was the kind of mild cliffhanger that you would expect at the end of a chapter. I'm glad I didn't actually have to wait for the next episode, however. I flicked over to the next one straight away and read about another half a chapter before going to sleep.
So if you're used to reading fantasy books without enforced breaks, I would recommend having all the episodes lined up before you start. On the other hand, if you're not already a fan of Duncan Lay's, or haven't read any of his books before, Episode One offers a substantial chunk of story to help you decide whether to keep reading. More than a sample for a fantasy book would normally contain. (And as I type, Episode One is free from the Momentum store (usually $1), so why not give it a go?) I'm not sure I've been converted to the idea of episodic book releases, but reading the discrete episode files does give a feeling of satisfaction when you get through them quickly.
4 / 5 stars
First published: January 2015, Momentum Books
Series: Well, episode 1 of 5 of The Last Quarrel, which itself is book 1 of 3
Format read: eARC
Source: Courtesy of the publisher