The Scrivener’s Tale by Fiona McIntosh
Great Fantasy stand-alone, but set in McIntosh’s world of the Quickening series.
Publisher’s Description: An action-packed standalone adventure moving from present-day Paris to medieval Morgravia, the world of Fiona McIntosh’s bestselling QUICKENING series.
In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant… until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.
As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe’s life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.
When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.
Soon, Gabe’s world will be turned upside down, and he will learn shocking truths about who he is . . . and who he can – or cannot – trust.
A fantastic, action-packed adventure starting in Paris and returning to Morgravia – this wonderful epic adventure grabs the reader from the first paragraph and doesn’t let go.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Pssst… The Scrivener’s Tale by Fiona McIntosh is an exciting story in a world far away. What hooked me though, was that the book description started with “It’s an ordinary day in Paris” and then all went afoul. I thought this story that took place in the modern day world. It does not. It’s set in a world called Morgravia, which is fine; I was just a bit disappointed at the beginning because I thought I was getting a contemporary tale. However, once I got used to being in Morgravia, I was sucked into their history.
The two main characters, one from Paris and one from Morgravia, are introduced to us in a way that makes you wonder if the contemporary character is going crazy because he keeps having the other worlds revealed to him in ways that don’t make sense. It turns out that they each have a role to play in saving the royal family of Morgravia from an evil demon that has possessed one of the young men. This isn’t a horror story; it’s fantasy and all the trappings of fantasy come with it so expect a dragon, a wench, some magic, a nasty step-mother and a happily ever after.
I was thoroughly entertained by this story and really enjoyed the world created by the author. However, I did feel that at times the history of the story was convoluted and it was hard to keep track of. There were so many references to old battles and famous people from that world that I couldn’t always keep up. I did want know what happened to our heroes though and kept reading, more and more quickly. The guide beasts that were carved into the great cathedral particularly intrigued me. As each person went to the cathedral, a beast would speak to them in their minds and they would know who their guiding spirit was.
When I reached the end of the book, there was an author’s note. What surprised me about the note was that The Scrivener’s Tale was a follow up tale to a book series that Fiona McIntosh had written previously. I think if I had already read The Quickening Series, this book would have made more sense and I wouldn’t have had to struggle with who’s who. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would give it 4 stars.
If you like this book…
…you will like Uprooted by Naomi Novik, The Stone and the Flute by Hans Bemmann, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and, of course, The Quickening Series: Myrenn’s Gift (Book 1), Blood and Memory (Book 2), and Bridge of Souls (Book 3).