Good evening bookworm, do come in. That was good timing, there’s some home baked bread cooking ready to eat with a honey or cheese if you would like some. It may taste a little charred on the top as I enlisted the dragons’ help in crisping the edges and they got a little over-excited! Could you pass me that dustpan and brush please? I’ll just brush up the soot that tumbled down the chimney during the chaos. Speaking of soot, have you heard of the Sooty Feathers series by David Craig? I’ve just finished reading the second book, Lord Of The Hunt. Here, have a seat with your bread while I tell you all about it.
Firstly, here’s the blurb:
Death rides the blood of a pale horse.
Undead prowl the streets of Glasgow at night hunting for blood. They, in turn, are hunted by the formidable Lady Delaney and her apprentice Kerry Knox, whose fight against the secret society ruling Glasgow will lead them into the city’s industrial heart where the poor toil in miserable conditions. Children have been exploited in mills and factories for decades, but the Sooty Feather Society has refined its cruel disregard in service to the undead.
Delaney and Knox are not the society’s only problem. The elusive demon Arakiel employs murder and necromancy in his campaign to seize control of Glasgow, avenging betrayal and reclaiming what was once his.
Wilton Hunt and Tom Foley are lying low in the Highlands where Hunt’s father has recently inherited title and estate. The blue skies and clear waters of Loch Aline may seem a tranquil sanctuary to the city men, but it’s forbidding forests and shadowed glens conceal dark secrets pertaining to Hunt’s family, and a diabolical revelation will change Wilton’s life forever.
Demons walk the crowded, cobbled streets of Glasgow, and a necromancer’s debt is called in. Knox will learn what joining this war might cost her; Hunt and Foley will learn they can’t escape it. Their diverged paths will meet again when dark magic unleashes a horror not everyone will survive…
Now here’s a little about the author:
Aside from three months living on an oil tanker sailing back and forth between America and Africa, and two years living in a pub, David Craig grew up on the west coast of Scotland. He studied Software Engineering at university, but lost interest in the subject after (and admittedly prior to) graduation. He currently works as a workforce planning analyst for a public sector organisation, and lives near Glasgow with his wife, daughter and two rabbits.
Being a published writer had been a life-long dream, and one that he was delighted to finally realise with his debut novel, Resurrection Men, the first in the Sooty Feathers series, published by Elsewhen Press in 2018. Thorns Of A Black Rose was David’s second novel, also published by Elsewhen Press. He returns to the Sooty Feathers series with Lord Of The Hunt.
And here’s my review:
Ooh I love a gothic novel and whilst there’s a risk that blood-sucking undead novels can be somewhat “same old, same old,” in my opinion the Sooty Feathers carves itself a dark niche of its own. Yes, there are some parts which go hand in hand with this genre, such as being killed by sunlight but there are other features the author added about the creation and ascension of these grotesque creatures which gave the story extra depth.
I had the pleasure of reading the first Sooty Feathers novel before this one thanks to the author’s kindness, and whilst this allowed me to enjoy knowing the characters’ backgrounds in Lord Of The Hunt, it can absolutely be read as a standalone. Although I suspect you may want to go back to the start for the sheer fun of it.
The world building of 19th century Glasgow and the Highlands drew me into the novel completely, making me feel as if I was walking those dark, cobbled streets or hearing the howls outside the Highland pub. The author crafted the characters in such a way that I formed images easily in my mind of what they all looked and dressed like, without there being any awkward pauses for descriptions.
Regular readers of this blog won’t be surprised to learn that I loved Lady Delaney and Kerry Knox, who played larger and more headstrong parts in this novel than the first. I also enjoyed catching up with Wilton Hunt and Tom Foley after their exploits and shocking revelations in the first novel, watching them reel from even more dramatic unveilings in Lord of the Hunt. I can’t decide who my favourite was between Hunt, born to a wealthy family who aren’t what they seem, and Foley, the slightly narcotics and alcohol addicted pharmacist who once again finds himself in many scrapes.
The villains of the piece are also well developed with their own histories and desires, although at one point I got a little confused with who was whom in the Sooty Feathers council but I figured it out when I went back a couple of chapters (I blame the heat wave).
The action and plot are well-paced rather than being blast after blast of drama and the character arcs kept me guessing as to what the author had in store for them next as they begin to converge.
I would recommend this book and series for anyone who enjoys gothic or historical fantasy novels and am giving it a firm 4 stars.
If you like the sound of this book and series, just click on the book image above to go straight to the purchase page. I don’t receive anything for providing the link, I’m just being a helpful bookworm. Thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the gifted digital copy of this book and Resurrection Men in return for my honest opinion.
Well bookworm, I had better get back to the library. The Camping and Outdoor Adventure books were a little snarky earlier when I asked the dragons to help with the fire for the bread rather than them so I promised them they could have a barbecue later. Hopefully without the dragons being on the menu… Until next time, bookworm, farewell!