by Mark Chadbourn.
Book 1 of the Age of Misrule trilogy.
Basically a classic fantasy in that the central character turns out to be the hero needed to fight off the forces of evil and save the world.
However, it's more than that. There are five unlikely heroes - the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons. The world, well actually just Britain so far, is under threat from the Fomorii and the Night Walkers; ancient evils who have broken the covenant with the ancient Celtic gods and are attempting to reinvade the land. These are creatures of horror.
To prevent them taking over, the 5 heroes must find the 4 Celtic talismans, hidden for centuries, and free the Celtic gods, the Danann, from their place of exile. Only then can the evil be banished once more.
For a while the story turned into yet another Grail hunt which had me sighing with "oh no, not again, not another Grail story". But, thankfully, that was only a smallish part of the tale.
It's a story that gallops along at a reasonably adventurous pace. Plenty of mythology, magic and more than enough bloodthirsty horror. The 5 "heroes" are quite disparate people - 2 women, 3 men. All carry plenty of baggage and there's little love lost between them all. There's action aplenty which kept me turning the pages in anticipation. At times they escaped dire circumstances a little too easily but not so that it spoiled the story.
By the end of this first book of the trilogy they have freed the Danann and the evils appear to have been vanquished. However, the Danann have made it clear that they are not about to leave. Instead, the land is now theirs for the taking.
Book 2 awaits......
5 hours ago