Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks

Rating 8.0/10
If you are a fan of the Night Angel you should read this.

"My way is hard, but I serve unbroken. In ignobility, nobility. In shame, honor. In darkness, light. I will do justice and love mercy."

So speaks the Night Angel, Durzo Blint, as he heads towards a meeting of the Nine to set Gwinvere Kirena as Shinga.

In this novella Brent Weeks takes us back several years to when Durzo - as readers know him in the Night Angel trilogy - stalked the world as Gaelen Starfire. The man once known as Acaelus Thorne, one of the closest friends of the powerful Jorsin Alkestes, owner of the black ka'kari is in a bar talking with Yvor Vas about what has led to him avenging the death of his wife and daughter at Chateau Shayon. A story of a deal with the beautiful Gwinvere, Sa'Kage, Mistress of Pleasures, to bring her to power and to gain him pre-eminence in the city as the best wetboy. Whilst Gaelen/Acaelus/Durzo learns at the hands of Ben Wrable he hunts and kills the other wetboys. His reward is the name of the man who killed his family. His future is as Durzo Blint.

This is pleasant addition to the Night Angel trilogy. Whilst it is a prologue, it should not be read before the trilogy as it gives away spoilers that are key in creating anticipation in the main novels. As readers who have devoured the books about Durzo and Kylar, this ties off some unanswered questions and explains much about the politics that are already in motion in Night Angel. We come to understand better the motive of Durzo, his beliefs, his training, the centuries that lie behind him. Weeks allows us to see into the enigmatic character and realise the weary humanity that Durzo clings to in the Night Angel. He is impassive, he is lethal, he is remorseless. But, he understands the crippling passions that lead us to do terrible things; is able to judge those around him with the grimness of experience.

At the end of it all, Durzo sums his understanding up brilliantly, in a manner J S Mill would echo: "Leadership is best left to the idealistic and the arrogant."

If you are a fan of the Night Angel you should read this. It will leave you feeling more complete about the story of Durzo and Kylar. If you have not read Night Angel, then read the trilogy before you read the prologue. You will understand why by the end of the pages...

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