Review Blog

Nov 05 2008

Word of honour by Michael Pryor

cover image

Random House Australia, 2008.
ISBN 9781741662818
(Age 12+) Recommended. A rip-roaring adventure in The laws of Magic series sees the aristocratic Aubrey Fitzwilliam and his friends George and Caroline fight off another attempt to start World War 1. Aubrey and company are starting their first term at university but get side tracked by an assault on a new submersible ship, an attempted assassination of Lady Rose, Aubrey's mother, and the reappearance of Mordecai Tremaine, who is determined to take over Albion.

The series is particularly interesting because of the laws of magic in the alternative Edwardian universe of Albion. Magic is prevalent and practitioners are taught to manipulate it and many inventions are powered by it. The reader is swept from one amazing adventure to another; never being sure what magical occurrence is going to happen next. And all the time it is a continual struggle for Aubrey to keep body and soul together, as he has miscalculated a spell and is technically dead.

Aubrey is a fascinating if sometimes annoying hero, with character flaws that the feisty Caroline is starting to iron out. George, the trusty Albion farmer's son, is the steady voice of reason. Mordecai Tremaine, a sinister villain, keeps the reader gasping with his evil and the minor characters are all fleshed out and believable. Flashes of humour add spice to the story.

Both boys and girls will find this series enjoyable, but it is best to begin with the first book Blaze of glory to gain a good understanding of the setting and the main characters. Older readers who enjoy this series could go on to the wonderful Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. All in all, a very satisfying and enjoyable read.
Pat Pledger

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