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Empire Of The Saviours REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW When the Saints go drinking blood…

In today's chaotic information age, time is precious and attention spans are short. That might be why Empire Of The Saviours tries to grab your attention without any preamble. There’s no lengthy world building, and no potted history lessons. Nor is AJ Dalton the sort of author who takes three pages to describe a room. His chief weapon is pace. In fact, he needs only 30 pages to push his boy-who-discovers-he's-a-powerful-magician plot to the top of the hill and start it rolling.

But a fast start isn't always enough to draw you in, especially if you encounter a done-to-death tale, ho-hum fantasy characters and some stodgy dialogue. You might be tempted to stop reading. But hold on, just for a minute. Because in telling the intersecting stories of hunted pagan magicker Jillan, outcast warrior Aspin and rock-goddess Freda, Empire Of The Saviours does give you an interesting setting and a devilishly good villain.

Dalton's story is set in a dystopian theocracy defended by Heroes, threatened by pagans and policed by bloodsucking holy “Saints”. By drinking the blood of their followers, these Saints gain the power to invade their thoughts and control them. They're the Agents in this medieval Matrix - feared like Sith lords and as kind as a shotgun fired at a slow-moving pheasant. And in Saint Azual, Dalton has a pompous, scene-stealing zealot trying to hold together a broken society and killing anyone who gets in his way. Without him, Empire Of The Saviours would be far less memorable.

Dean Evans

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