The conclusion of a young adult fantasy trilogy set during the aftermath of the French Revolution. This is the third and final volume of the Battalion of the Dead trilogy. The Battalion comprise Al, James, Guil, Ada and Camille. At the beginning the revolution has been defeated and the survivors of the old aristocracy are beginning to reassert political control. However, the villain of the piece, the Duc de l’Aubespine has a murderous plan to seize power for himself, utilising the remarkable powers of Olympe, who can generate deadly amounts of electricity from within her own body. The Battalion start off bewildered from the events that have happened in the previous volumes and have to race against time and seemingly impossible odds to thwart the Duc. The reader is always unsure whether they will succeed or not and the climax and ending of the book is full of surprises which this reader did not anticipate.
There is a great deal of page turning action in this novel as the characters pursue different paths before they eventually come together at the denouement, keeping the reader going through nearly four hundred pages. The main characters have interesting back stories and there are gay relationships between some of them, which makes a nice change from the general run of fantasy novels. Some of the characters are one dimensional though, particularly the Duc who has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Fantasy villains in general seem to be evil from top to bottom. I would like to see a more nuanced characterisation rather than a figure who hates everybody, kills with impunity and is only interested in ultimate power so they can enslave everyone else!
Any reader who has made it through the first two volumes will definitely want to find out what happens here. One for a secondary school library.
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