Review: Lauren O’Connor-May
This book made Anthony Ryan one of my new favourite authors.
The Martyr is the second book in the Covenant of Steel series which started with The Pariah.
The medieval fantasy tells the story of Alwyn who comes from desperately humble and obscure beginnings but grows to greatness and becomes pivotal in a feudal war motivated by greed and misplaced religious fervour.
Alwyn wears many hats but his main role is confidante and advisor to Lady Evadine Courlain.
Evadine has gathered a fanatical following due to her mystical visions of apocolyptic events and apparent resurrection.
Her zealous disciples believe her to be a risen martyr but Alwyn knows the sinister truth of her seemingly miraculous recovery.
Alwyn is also secretly plagued by prophetic dreams but he largely ignores them because of his oath to protect Evadine and the romantic feelings they share.
The Martyr has a slow, steady burn and is full of unexpected arcs and curious twists. The story is driven by political suspense and bits of magic.