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Gr 9 Up—It is 1453, and Luca Vero is an inquirer, sent by the head of a mysterious order to investigate signs of the End of Days. In this sequel, Luca and his companions, his servant, Freize; the Lady Isolde and her servant, Ishraq; and the clerk and recorder Brother Peter, continue their journey across Europe. Although the pace is slow in the beginning, reflecting the pace of the travelers, the action explodes midway when a tsunami drowns hundreds of children on a pilgrimage lead by the prophet Johann. This cataclysmic event focuses the reader on the novel's philosophical motif: the clash of reason and belief, science and superstition. Each character embodies aspects of this debate, principally Ishraq, a half-Arabic scholar, representing science and reason, and Luca, who, despite his role of church inquirer, appears on the verge of questioning his beliefs and his mission. There is also the leader of the Order of Darkness, willing to use any means to root out and defeat the infidel Ottoman Empire, which his order believes is responsible for the End of Days. Gregory has crafted a novel full of depth and texture that stands on its own. Readers who have not read the first book will be inspired to do so after finishing this one and will eagerly await the next installment.—Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME
Book two of Gregory’s four-volume Order of Darkness series continues young Luca’s quest at the behest of a mysterious religious order to travel the realm seeking signs of the end of days. When a tsunami floods a coastal Italian village in 1453, overwhelming a children’s crusade to Jerusalem, Luca ponders the scene grimly, thinking that it has swept up his dearest friend along with the scores of others. Might the disaster be a sign of the end? Punishment for sin? The great flood stalls his journey but not the action in this highly packed adventure. At one pivotal dramatic point, Isolde and Ishraq, two young women in Luca’s retinue, stand accused as stormbringers, dark arts practitioners who brought on the flood deliberately. Gregory’s lively characterizations pull the reader in. She skillfully weaves the threads of history through the suspenseful narrative, playing out the clash between Christendom and Islam in a small medieval town. The shiver of horror at the end will have fans wondering how far the quest might venture to the dark side. Grades 8-11. --Anne OMalleySee all Editorial Reviews
Ms Gregory has developed her characters very carefully, weaving their stories with grace and a light hand. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rosie
Very well written, but a bit too unrealistic for my liking! Not what I'm used to from her other books.Published 2 months ago by Marie-Louise Norton
The story held together well and enticed me to read the third book in the seriesPublished 3 months ago by Dorie
This second in a series is quite a fun read as the story unfolds. I'm excited to start the 3rd book!Published 4 months ago by Cindi Jenkins
I am a Philippa Gregory fan and have read all her books bur somehow missed the 1st book of Stormbringers, but just finished reading Order of Darkness, and have ordered the 3rd book... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Bobbi C
It took me a while to get into this book and the slowness of the medieval world. I have read many other books of Philippa Gregory of the English Tudor period and have enjoyed all... Read morePublished 7 months ago by JUDITH ROSTRON