Review: Redemption: King of Swords by A J Wilde

In this sequel to Shadow Road: The Page of Swords, Bailey is now training under Lord Charles, and he’s working hard toward his goal of taking over as The Shadow, just as Charles took the position over from his late lover, Robert.

Things are not easy for either of them, though. Bailey yearns for Charles’ approval, but Charles refuses to let Bailey become the Shadow until he has experienced defeat at least once. Things come to a head when a late night encounter between a coach, a pair of highwaymen and the Shadow himself results in chaos, and the lord is injured. Will the events from that night change Charles and Bailey forever?

Review by Erastes

I didn’t read the prequel to this book, so I had to hit the ground running, but it’s fairly well explained without being over-informative.

Wilde has a nice touch, and I found her writing style easy to read and rather engaging.  I immediately liked Lord Charles as soon as we are introduced to him, and I wasn’t led to believe that we are in Hollywood.  The whole feel of the opening setting is right, down to the clothing.

It slips into OKHomo a little too quickly for my liking, however, as Charles goes to embrace his half naked blacksmith lover in full view of the stable lad and Duncan, another stable boy. His valet is also in on the secret, which I’d expect–but I found it a little unreal that all the staff could be trusted.

I was a bit puzzled at the highwayman angle.  At the beginning of the book it seems to hint that Charles continues to operate as The Shadow to keep the highway free of the really nasty brigands, but then he goes and robs and coach full of terrified passengers, so I sort of went off him at this point.  I admit to getting very confused with all the highwaymen that came and went, and it took a couple of readings to get it all straight so it probably would have been better if I’d read the prequel after all.

It’s a short, but enjoyable read with no hideous research and I enjoyed it.  I could have done without the inverted commas around some of the historical facts like “Tyburn Jig” and “tree” referring to the gallows, as that kind of thing reminds the reader they are outside the action, but all in all it’s not a bad read at all.

There are a few anachronistic phrases here and there, but nothing too dreadful and are probably unnoticeable to most, so I wouldn’t worry about them. It’s the feel of the story that’s right, and you can tell that the author has done the necessary work.

It was a bit short my liking, and once I got to know and like the characters it was all over, and I wanted to know more, but that’s probably because Torquere needed it to be this particular length.

From the review of Shadow Road last year,  it seems that some of the characterisation points particularly have been taken on board, so I’m happy to give Redemption an extra star.

Author’s website (can’t find one)

Buy Fictionwise Torquere Press

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