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Bone-mend and Salt (Accidental Heretics Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 501 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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"Beneath a Scarlet Sky" by Mark Sullivan
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Stewart hits a real stride mid-book. (I marked this section - chapter 60 - one of the books many short chapters.) There was a perfect cadence at this point, and Stewart is up there with the best of them. The author has no difficulty juggling multiple characters, and the ambiguities and real dangers of the politics of the crusades and The Church are expertly handled.
One thing I found discomfiting, and this coming from a semi-pro, somewhat educated, arm-chair, Germanic linguist—is that, throughout the entire book, I couldn't figure out how to pronounce the name of one of the main characters: lord of Valeros, Peire. This was frustrating. Also, I wish the main female character, Isabelle, was a bit more powerful. She's outspoken but can never seem to walk the talk. She's good on a horse, but she's always falling from parapets or bungling up some mission. Tomas, her love interest and companion (dark) hero, always seems to have to intercede to put things right. But this might be Stewart's intention. Having a somewhat needy and ineffective heroine goes against the grain in our era of feminist trumpeters. This, however, may be Stewarts means of humanizing her, and humanization, in my view, is always commendable.
This review was made in exchange for a copy of the book.
In short, I'm not going into detail on this novel because it's too easy to throw out spoilers while discussing it. What I will say is that any fan of historical fiction - historical fiction that's superbly written - must read Stewart's work. If you miss it, you lose.