I am so impressed with this trilogy. It’s so hard to make fantasy stand out these days because the market is a crowded place; yet, despite all that, this is so unique and creative. It’s one of the most original fantasy trilogies I’ve read in the last ten years because it brings so many different elements together with such effectiveness. It’s post-apocalyptic with fantasy and horror elements thrown in. And it’s by far the best example of it I’ve ever seen because all the fantasy is explained through the highly developed pre-apocalyptic tech and magic.
Excellent stuff! I can’t recommend it more highly.
I loved the ideas behind it all, and I loved seeing how the world became shaped into a war-torn barren waste land. Though what really stole the show for me was the gods: The Seven. They have been asleep for centuries and they were meant to protect humanity from the tainted. They failed. They slumbered in their own grief and now that they are ready to wake and pick up their swords, nobody wants them because the world has changed.
The tainted have bred. They have mixed with humans and created half breeds. They are not inherently evil (like humans aren’t.) Yet some of them appear grotesque and monstrous so The Seven orchestrate a mass purging, which essentially involves a mass slaughtering of their own people in order to save the purist. It’s extermination, plain and simple. And they must be stopped, though the humans follow them out of fear and love. They have spent centuries waiting to be saved, and now they are being betrayed and they don’t even realise it. It’s such a clever reversal.
The characters are fantastic and fully fleshed out. Vesper, the shinning beacon of hope for the tainted, demonstrates the moral greyness that defines this world. In fantasy fiction, orcs are often represented as a sub-species and barbarous. As a race, they are treated with neglect and it’s rare to see them treated with fairness. This is a similar concept, but instead of orcs Newman deals in infernal monsters that can take on any shape flesh will allow. Evil is not in appearances; it’s in action and consequences. The complexity of this made the conclusion so fantastically compelling. Newman turned everything on itself. And he brought all the characters together into a great action-packed conclusion. And I was glad to see the Vagrant take a more active role in the fighting. I missed him a little in The Malice so it was great to see him stand by Vespers side, sword in hand, ready to face down the immortal Seven and right the wrongs of the world.
So, this is a rather grand trilogy and I think you should go and read it. I’m very excited for what Peter Newman may put out in the future. The Ruthless, the second book in his Deathless trilogy, is to be released this June. I hope it can keep pace with the brilliance displayed here.
Review by Sean Barrs
We first interviewed Peter Newman in 2015, following the release of his debut novel The Vagrant, a novel we enjoyed a great deal. Now, two years on, the third and final volume of the Vagrant trilogy, The Seven, is soon to be [...]
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