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    three times better tan This Crumbling Pageant

    Mere moments ago I finished The Dead Shall Live in a tumult of emotion, the primary one is “I can’t believe it is better than This Crumbling Pageant” I truly can’t believe it, but so it is. Of course, I hardly know how to write this review without spoilers because the dead who lived is not really the dead I expected to live, but know that that person is living, I see where the clues led. I mean, before that dead person actually drew breath, I had it figured out, but throughout the reading, I didn’t put them together until near the end. Another aspect I am not sure how to write about without giving away too much is that there is a sub-theme of redemption. Some who we may think despicable may not be quite as awful as we thought and some who we though quite delightful just might not seems that way now. Persephone has depths we could never have imagined. Let me also caution the reader. Unless one has read “This Crumbling Pageant” one will be hard pressed to understand what the heck is going on in this, Volume Two of the Fury Triad. The expression “Never trust a Fury” turns up in the dangest most unexpected places and at last we learn the story behind it and well-deserved it is, too. Once again Burroughs luminous writing style sweeps our feet out from under us. I could have done without the details of the seasickness so many suffered but it tickled my fancy that Vespasian experienced it. I felt like I was on a sailing ship. I feels as if I could find my way though Youghal without any problem. The vistas of Ireland appeared in my mind. The relationship between Persephone and Vespasian is at the core of the story. Their unlikely marriage, one that neither of them wants, binds them and they try to understand what it truly means to be a wife to a despised husband and a husband to a woman one never wanted to marry. Committed to each other despite not wanting the marriage, they become true partners. Persephone gladly throws off the shackles of the etiquette she was raised to display and Vespasian had no use for etiquette, to begin with. Where she wants to go, he follows, where he leads her, she trails along. The bulk of this story takes place in Youghal, Ireland (apparently pronounced “Yawl”) and thus Burroughs has to add to the world she is building so we can follow her deeper into the world of the Magi, Fireborn, Earthborn, and the Earthborn. As was true of “This Crumbling Pageant” Burroughs creates some wonderful new characters, well-developed even if some of them are lacking in personal hygiene and are quite trigger-happy and less than discreet in their amours. We learn of horrible things done by Cromwell and his army, sending Irish Catholics to Barbados as slaves. We meet a descendant who remembers all too well what happened to her ancestors and a lavishly colorful woman she is, a fit companion to Lord Sinner, whom we met in “This Crumbling Pageant.” Personally, there were moments when I found the wait for “The Dead Shall Live” too long and too stressful because I longed to know what happened next. But this volume surpassed my hopes and made it worth the wait. It is at least three times as good as Pageant. "Unto the Sky" will be even better.
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    Staggering Novel

    This review will contain spoilers. This is a staggering novel that kept me up late every single night until I finished reading - a masterful blending of fantasy, mystery, and romance. And if you're a sucker for romance like I am, you will not be disappointed. I am putty in the hands of an author who can portray a protagonist whose journey checks off all my boxes. Give me a man from a family cursed with poverty that brings about neglect of all his needs, emotional as well as physical. Let him have a past in which he does things, both good and bad, for ignoble reasons. Now, give him an epiphany of understanding that drives him to do the right things for his people, regardless of the consequences for him personally. Have him deny himself any solace as self-imposed punishment for his sins. Now bring in a woman who sees through to the core of him and chooses him anyway. Chooses him over and over again, regardless of who asks the question. Persephone is a mighty heroine, acknowledged by all - even her impossible husband - as the most powerful magician in recent memory. As a child she had an insatiable drive to learn. As a woman, she is able to channel that learning into finding the full meaning of the prophecy that drives the Earthborn rebellion. I waited for what felt like forever for this book to be published. It is the second book in the Fury Triad, preceded by This Crumbling Pageant. There is a different feel to this book, in that it has a somewhat narrower focus. The first book immersed me in the world-building of the Regency-era Magi and specifically, the role Persephone plays in the struggle to crown the True King of Magi England. The Dead Shall Live focuses on Persephone and the Earthborn rebels - on what they must do to survive to fight another day. Persephone, with the help of her difficult husband, Vespasian Wyllt, has decimated the entire army of the pretender to the throne, but in spite of her best efforts, the pretender survives. The Dead Shall Live begins exactly where This Crumbling Pageant ended. Literally in the same scene. The Earthborn have lived with the prophecy of the coming of the True King for a long time. As The Dead Shall Live opens, their Seer has just named Robin Fitzwilliam, Persephone's erstwhile fiance, as the True King. It is no surprise that Vespasian utterly rejects the proclamation, but he is a bit surprised when Persephone repudiates it as well. She knows Robin is too weak to be their king. Persephone has loved Robin since she was thirteen years old, but she is a married woman now. Robin and all the Fury family believe that she was kidnapped and forced into marriage with Vespasian, but Persephone is quick to contradict that notion every time it's expressed. Vociferously. She didn't marry for love, and virtually no kindness exists between her and Vespasian, but she chooses to align herself with the Earthborn and their leader, her wretched husband. This book takes us from Wales and the sacred grove where the Earthborn sheltered, to a wooden-masted ship sailing the Irish Sea, to the town of Youghal in Ireland. Throughout the journey, we watch the dance between Persephone and Vespasian. Both are too intelligent and learned to be understood by anyone else. Both have deep resentment toward the other for a variety of reasons. But both have also experienced the stupendous power they wield when they blend their magic together. And say what you will about either of them, but the power they share is more of an aphrodisiac than any love potion. I received an advance copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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