‘False Covenant’ is the second in the ‘Widdershins Adventure’ fantasy series of novels by Ari Marmell. It picks up about six months after the ending of ‘Thief’s Covenant’ and things are not going well for the Flippant Witch Tavern. The backlash from the Church of the Hallowed Pact to events covered in the first novel have caused hard times to settle on the Galician city of Davillon. In the medieval times, hard times were indeed very hard with even the local aristocracy having to cut back. The local population is rightly angry at the clergy and church attendances are down. It’s something the new Bishop feels he must rectify to help heal the rift between the Davillon population and the church even if it means using unorthodox methods. Despite a promising start, things go from bad to way beyond worse when a supernatural monster joins in and the killings begin.
For those not familiar with the first book in the series, Widdershins is the heroine of the series although, as she is a fully paid up and active member of the Finders Guild, she is not without a few blemishes to her character. The Finders Guild is a professional association for the thieves of Davillon and is run by the enigmatic Shrouded Lord whose true identity is only known to highest ranked priests. Widdershins also plays host to the god Olgun, who took up residence in her head when all of his followers were killed. This gives her enhanced abilities making her an accomplished thief and the ability to annoy just about anyone. She appears to have an uncanny knack of picking up enemies almost as fast as she picks up other peoples valuables.
When Widdershins is tasked with uncovering the nature of the mysterious creature that has been scaring the good folk of Davillon, she is unwittingly set on a course that brings her to the attention of the supernatural monster known as Iruoch. Nobody survives the attention of Iruoch and Widdershins will need the help of the City Guards, the Church and the Finders Guild just to stay alive. Actually killing Iruoch will require something more.
‘False Covenant’ does not use the flashback format as seen in ‘Thief’s Covenant’ as the story unfolds linearly. What it does have in common with the first novel though is a fast-paced plot and a good selection of characters. The supernatural killer Iruoch is truly creepy and enough to make you nervous of the dark.
This is another very good story from Ari Marmell and I’m looking forward to the next volume. I think he may be onto a real winner here if he can maintain the quality of the stories.
False Covenant: A Widdershins Adventure by Ari Marmell
(pub: Pyr/Prometheus Books. 280 page small hardback. Price: $16.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-61614-621-4)
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