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Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Blood Isles by C.F. Barrington

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As the season progresses, the Spartans and the Vikings pick up their conflict in the streets of Edinburgh, and Tyler and Cameron have more questions than ever. Friendships grow, but their enemies’ machinations become ever more vicious and deadly. The Blood Isles beckon.

Tyler and Lana inadvertently put an innocent at risk, while Lana’s past is dragged out into the open, and soon she won’t be safe, and neither will Tyler. They’re seeking a truth that very few want to see revealed, and the bodies aren’t just stacking up on the field of battle.

On the streets, the stakes get higher, and the Season marches towards its finale. Blood is spilt, and those warriors that haven’t yet killed are the most precious blood of all in the fight for supremacy in the battle to come on The Blood Isles. The two sides fight for trophies and advantages, but sometimes the sides are too busy fighting themselves to fight each other. Can anyone truly say they are fighting for right when there are so many agendas, lies and hidden truths?

We learn more about the hidden structure that makes the Games possible, and supports the Pantheon and the fighters of the different warbands.

As we pass the midpoint of the trilogy, the stakes grow, the bodies pile up and it gets harder and harder to decide who is going to survive. As the two sides finally reach the end of the season, it comes time to be flown out of Edinburgh into the wilds of Scotland, to a desolate battlefield where they will need to shed each other’s blood for the entertainment and the bets of their Pantheon, and the lesser lights crowded about TVs and tablets across the world. The hidden world of the games crosses over with real life, and bonds are formed, but friends are lost.

Once again, C.F. Barrington sketches vivid pictures of the streets and rooftops of Edinburgh at night, and then he takes us to the wilds, following a strange mix of the worthy, the desperate and the broken who find life and meaning in a contrived mix of the past and the present, and the thrill of battle at the beck and call of masters who treat it like a bloodstained pantomime. Meanwhile, most of the warriors are hoping to survive to a well-paid retirement while their friends and comrades fall.

The final battle (on The Blood Isles of the title) ebbs and flows on the field of conflict, under the eyes of the world as the field runs red and friends become more dangerous than enemies under the spectre of the mistakes and malice of the past.

I can’t wait to see where we end up as machiavellian twists and turns become more desperate and those in power start to run out of places to hide the venal truth of their petty, small desires wrapped in expensive toys and cruelty.

All that is left is The Hastening Storm…. And answers to questions many might regret asking.

Mark Canty
Mark Canty
I'm just this geek, you know? Love comics, though not a regular reader - Love gaming, PC, board games and wargaming, and reading Sci Fi. Chairman at my local wargaming club, I play X-Wing and occasionally 40k (But mostly X-Wing!) By day I work in eCommerce, by night I'm either still working, reading, watching or writing :)

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The Blood Isles by C.F. Barrington As the season progresses, the Spartans and the Vikings pick up their conflict in the streets of Edinburgh, and Tyler and Cameron have more questions than ever. Friendships grow, but their enemies' machinations become ever more vicious and deadly. The Blood Isles beckon. Tyler and...