the end of December 2012 is coming nearer and I still have not posted a single review in this month. That will change today. Regularly readers will know which review you will get today. This is the next episode in a story which took its origin in August 2011. The first episode ended with
On November 17th 2012 I wrote about the next episode which will end today with the review of the second book in the series, Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus (e-book and pb, 2012) [Amazon Kindle, ASIN:B00A6UY3S4] by Sabine Atkins.
Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store. The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:
Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus (e-book and pb, 2012) [ASIN:B00A6UY3S4] [ISBN-13: 978-1481003278]
"They had survived for centuries ... Now they didn't know whether they would survive the next second.
Two heroes, two different worlds - and not a lot of time left to prevent their destruction!
In the second part of the VARANGIAN trilogy, one of Edric's former enemies, medieval knight Count Baldwin, who inadvertently ended up in the supernatural realm of Teneo Mundus, is confronted with protecting a small group of refugees in a world he perceives as true hell.
On Earth, Edric is juggling the tasks of defending himself against assassins from Teneo Mundus, finding the artifacts which help him stop the destruction of both this world and Earth, and traveling with two smart, beautiful women whose characters are constantly on opposite sides." [Source]
I read the 248 pages of Varangian: The Stone of Babylon in three days and liked it a lot. Of course I expected that Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus will continue on that level without dropping into the well known second book in a series malaise.
First thing I noticed was the increased number of pages! The 376 pages of Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus are divided into a prologue and ten named and consecutively numbered chapters. Unbelievable but true, I read the book in three days!
I do not want to repeat the book description which is at the same time a summary of the story.
Let us have a look at the two parallel running story lines. On Earth the Anglo-Saxon Edric has to cope with a world which looks quite different compared to the Byzantine Empire he comes from. Fortunately he is not alone. His quest is to find the parts for the key to open a "door" to the supernatural realm of Teneo Mundus, a world where the enemy prepares for the final fight. In order to hinder respectively kill Edric, the assassins of Teneo Mundus are sent to earth.
That means the earth story line is head most a travel, hunt and fight story. There is a lot of tough action and it is good to see that Edric even with his supernatural berserkrgang need the help from other.
Edric is still the character as known from Varangian: The Stone of Babylon. But author Sabine Atkins offers more insight to Edric's inner life - the impact of his dreams, the emotional roller coaster when it comes to relationship with women, emerging doubts and more. It is also good to see that people like Caren, Renata and Kevin are much more than prompters without soul and brain. The relationship between these characters has a direct impact on the story.
The fights versus the assassins are impressive and it is not always predictable if all characters will survive or not. Fortunately author Sabine Atkins did not forget that a slight smile from time to time is welcomed.
The most impressive devlopment compared to Varangian: The Stone of Babylon is the indroduction of the realm of Teneo Mundus with the character of the medieval knight Count Baldwin. I admit that Count Baldwin is my favorite character in Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus. Baldwin, Edric's human antagonist, thrown into a distant world which has not much in common with the world he knows. Sabine Atkins takes time to introduce Baldwin and his intellectual world to the reader. It is one of the highlights to see the development of Baldwin. A knight with principles and a plain view of the enemy in form of Edric turns into a man who takes a stand again the inhabitants of Teneo Mundus and the evil Henry Delion. At first unintended he supports Edric while protecting other survivors of the Byzantine Empire. A medieval knight with a heart and soul buried deep, deep, deep in the fathom of his intellect.
With Count Baldwin the story got an impressive counterweight to Edric.
I can't wait to see when they will meet the first time on Teneo Mundus.
I can assure you that Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus did not drop into the well known second book in a series malaise.
Honestly I have nothing to criticize.
Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus delivered more entertaining pages than expected.
Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus introduced a new main character with a fascinating development.
Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus continues the story on a high level.
Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus prepared everything for the final book in the trilogy.
Varangian: The Assassins of Teneo Mundus is an excellent fantasy story full of action and emotion, inner thoughts, two worlds and great character development.