Truth and Fear by Peter Higgins

Rating 9.0/10
What makes Truth and Fear such a triumph is that it can be read as thriller and fantasy

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Investigator Lom returns to Mirgorod and finds the city in the throes of a crisis. The war against the Archipelago is not going well. Enemy divisions are massing outside the city, air raids are a daily occurrence and the citizens are being conscripted into the desperate defence of the city.

But Lom has other concerns. The police are after him, the mystery of the otherworldly Pollandore remains and the vast Angel is moving, turning all of nature against the city.

But will the horrors of war overtake all their plans?

This picks up directly from Wolfhound Century, seamlessly capturing the atmosphere and excitement that made Higgins’ first novel in the series so enjoyable.

Lom is enigmatic and hard-nosed, Maroussia Shaumian is feisty and determined; and Lavrentina Chazia is totally ruthless and self-serving. With the towering presence of Antoninu Florian added to this mix, as well as some new faces, this entry is not short on incident and action. Higgins navigates the twists and turns through his wonderfully conceived fantasy world with aplomb, where a totalitarian state coexists with a mythical world.

The focus is on a pursuit: taking the reader through murky streets and vast open countryside, where we see much more of the Vlast. Higgins is excellent at describing his world, making it seem so vivid, despite the more fantastical elements. If the first book was a little uneven and suffered from an abrupt ending, this one gripped me throughout, and the pacing is first rate.

What makes Truth and Fear such a triumph is that it can be read as thriller and fantasy. I cannot delve too deeply into the storyline without revealing too much, so all I can say is this is a rare thing: a sequel that surpasses its original.

Truth and Fear by Peter Higgins
Published 2014 by Gollancz

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