Title: Speak to the Devil
Series: Brothers Magnus
Author: Dave Duncan
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Format: Kindle digital edition
In an alternate Europe, magic is real. Those who can use it are called Speakers and they believe they are talking to Saints. The Church has outlawed Speaking and claims that the Saints are actually devils in disguise. Of course, the Church has Speakers of its own, to find, corral and use/punish new Speakers.
This story revolves around the 5 brothers of the surname Magnus. Mainly dealing with Wulf, the youngest, who has just recently started Speaking, and his next eldest brother Anton, who has caught the Power Behind the Throne’s Eye and made a Duke/Baron/Whatever and married off to a beautiful woman. Only Wulf falls in love with her and she with him and Anton can’t really do anything for the king because he’s been using Wulf’s abilities for his own gain. Throw in an invasion, Church Speakers and the other Brothers Magnus and you have a great Adventure Story.
The blurb on the book page is full of crap. It makes Anton sound like he was along for the ride, whereas the reality is that he was the one pushing Wulf all the time to use his abilities on Anton’s behalf, even when it physically incapacitated Wulf.
Wulf I have loved but Anton have I hated.
The other Brothers are a mixed bag, which works out REALLY good. They aren’t a bunch of saints or wizards or idiots or geniuses. They are a family and the dynamics are great. The various plot lines dealing with the Church, the invasion and the love thingy [it’s not a triangle, since Anton doesn’t love his wife, just wants her for what she represents] all worked surprisingly well.
I was kind of hoping for a bit more to happen, since this is only a duology, but we’ll see how Duncan wraps this story up in the next book. I’ve had a good run with him recently and am hoping that he doesn’t disappoint like in The Great Game trilogy. In many ways this book feels like a Michael Stackpole book from the 90’s, which is a good thing!