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The Scourge: Emaculum (Volume 3) Paperback – August 4, 2014
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About the Author
Roberto Calas is an author and lover of history. His serial trilogy (The Scourge) is about a 14th century knight fighting his way through a demon-infested England to reunite with the woman he loves. And every bit of it is true except for the made up parts. He earned a degree in journalism from the University of Connecticut and worked as a reporter, freelance writer, and magazine editor. But his true love has always been fiction. In addition to The Scourge series, Roberto has written The Beast of Maug Maurai (fantasy), Kingdom of Glass (historical fiction in the Foreworld universe), and Wages of Sin (a historical- fiction short story). He lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, with his two children, and visits the United Kingdom on a monthly basis to be with his fiancée, Annabelle. Sometimes he fights demons to reach her. You can learn more about Roberto on his website: robertocalas.com
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I don't want to give away too much, so I will do my best to focus on more vague ideas and tone, so hopefully I won't spoil anything for you. I mean, theoretically, you have read the first two books in the series, so you know what's going on, but still. The ending is pretty exciting, so I don't want to ruin it.
The humor, which has been so pervasive in the series, continues in the same vein in his book. As does the effort at maintaining historical accuracy as the anchor of the narrative (obviously with a rather healthy dose of fantasy, if there had been zombies in medieval England, we would have heard of it before now). It is those two elements which have made this series so enjoyable. Roberto Calas does a great job of making the characters feel human. As someone who responds to overly stressful situations with sarcasm and irreverence, I can identify very strongly with one of the characters in this series (you know who I mean...). And the historical accuracy makes the story feel much more real. The combination of relatable characters and realistic environment gives the story a touch, which you just don't see in much fiction, regardless of genre.
You know, as I think about it, who would be better suited to survive a zombie apocalypse than a knight? I mean, a highly trained warrior, covered in, at the very least, maille, carrying a shield and sword? Sounds like the best possible survival chances if you ask me. Going off on a bit of a tangent, who wouldn't watch a series/movie about a bunch of Renaissance Faire patrons and performers making their way through a zombie attack? I would watch the hell out of that. But, I digress...
Anyway, if you're reading his, you have likely read Parts 1 & 2 of this series. So, you simply must get this book as well. If you haven't, and this is the first chance you have had to see this series, you need to get "The Scourge", and "Nostrum", now. Like, right now. Now. Read them, and then come back and get this book. If you like zombie fiction, you will like this series.
Now that the plaguers can be cured, Edward no longer sees them as monsters, but as victims – the afflicted who need to be spared until they can be saved. As the story progresses, he even comes to view himself as the “champion of the dead.” After all, he’s the only savior the afflicted may have. As a result, the true monsters of this story are entirely human. They include Sir Gerald of Thunresleam, Edward’s belligerent nemesis from the past two books, and – in one of the book’s many surprises – the king of England, Richard II, who has succumbed to madness during these dark times. In the Middle Ages, kings had almost absolute power over life and death, so there are few things as scary as an insane and violent king! Richard is the series’ best villain, so it’s not surprising that "Emaculum" may be the series’ best book.
One of the author’s greatest skills is his ability to put his characters in a situation and have them suffer the worst outcome imaginable. Often these involve plot twists that the reader may see coming, but only because we’ve become trained to expect the most dreadful results for Edward and his friends. But don’t get me wrong, despite this perchance for putting his characters in unbelievably awful situations, the story’s pace is brisk and thrilling, and it’s filled with witty banter and amusing interludes that provide needed comic relief throughout the tale. Thankfully, the Scourge books are not horror novels, but rather fun, rollicking fantasies in the spirit of classic cliffhanger stories like the Indiana Jones tales – except set in medieval England.
As with the first two books, the author keeps the historical details believable and accurate (as much as they can be in an alternative history), and where he has taken liberties for the sake of story, he admits as much in an excellent series of historical notes at the end. One of my other favorite aspects was the return of a number of characters from the first book that didn’t appear in the second. In this sense, "Emaculum" takes the entire series full circle, tying up nearly every loose end from the first two installments. This results in a fitting conclusion to one of the more unique and engaging historical fantasy series I’ve encountered in a long time. I highly recommend it!
As a personal note, The Scourge is one of my favorite series. I felt a real connection with the characters, despairing of their bad luck, reveling in their grim humor, cheering at their fleeting victories, weeping for their losses. Emaculum does a great job of wrapping up these adventures, while still bringing unexpected and colorful encounters along the way. Has good pacing and plenty of action, it builds throughout to an excellent climax, uses great set pieces, honors the entire preceding story. If you enjoyed the first two volumes, I think you will like this one even more.
It is not a particularly fantastic book but if you like zombies its worth a read. I got the books for free which also perhaps leads to my higher rating. I read the full series over a weekend and found it almost like those romance mills and boon style books women read... but for men.
Utter rubbish and twaddle but somehow I kept coming back for more like a terrible tv drama.
Well done to the writer.