Book Review 2009 #46: Age of Misrule: World’s End

My next book is the first in a series that has come across the pond from Britain.
Mark Chadbourn, an author of 11 books, is a big deal over in Brtain. His books are now filtering over to America at last…

With Age of Misrule: World’s End, Mark Chadbourn’s oeuvre of Celtic gods and monsters returning, with catastrophic results, to the world, finally reaches U.S. Publication. Done in a handsome edition with great art by John Picacio, the book soon transports the reader into a world that starts off familiar.
Only at first.
We met a set of characters in-then contemporary Britain (the book was originally written in the 1990’s). Jack, Ruth, Laura, Shavi, and Ryan slowly come together, under the mysterious guidance of Tom, as events slowly reveal that the old creatures and Gods of Celtic Mythology are not only real, but they are returning to the world to take their place in (mis)rule once again.
Technology starts to fail, and magic starts to rise again. But the return of magic and magical beings, and magical items is no good thing. And worse. the five characters have been signaled out by the forces of darkness for reasons the characters themselves do not at first understand.
Still, when a dragon firebombs a freeway in order to try and kill you, and the Wild Hunt comes after you to stop you from doing something that you yourself do not know, its time to, flaws and all, to try and be a hero. To try and make sense of a changing world, and better still, try and guide its change for the better.
The characters are three dimensional and none are cookie cutter protagonists or sad-sacks. Chadbourn’s writing is both poignant in the stories of the character as well as describing vividly and engagingly the encounters and conflicts these characters face as they deal with the too-rapidly changing world.
Strong use and understanding of remixed mythology and Faerie (which reminded me, in a different vein, of Bear’s Promethean Age novels). Excellent set pieces. Characters that grow, change and you learn to care about.
Forget derivative pablum fantasy. This is some of the good stuff. In Silverlock terms, its clear that Chadbourn has made a pilgrimage to Hippocrene and isn’t afraid to write like it.
I’ve already bought the second book in the series. I think, after reading this one, you will too.