Miserere, by Teresa Frohock is a fantastic fantasy novel. At risk of a little bit of spoilering, I’d like to explain what happened to me as I read the first few chapters…
Chapter one… ah, Catholic mediaeval fantasy with angels and demons and Latin, and prayers as spells and all that.
Chapter two: Why are we in the present day? Is this a portal story? Then where/when were we before? This is not what I thought it was.
Chapter three: This world building is very exciting.
And from that point I had a great deal of trouble putting it down.
There were a number of things I particularly liked about this book. I immediately loved the fact that of the four main characters, three are middle aged. They’ve already lived and loved and made terrible mistakes and done problematic things to each other and they are messy and flawed and very real. As a middle aged reader, it’s rather pleasing to have some middle aged fantasy action.
Of the four main characters, three are women. Two are middle aged women, and one is a child. They all kick ass.
There’s some wonderful background content about religious diversity. That made me very happy.
Horses have names. People care about them. They are not disposable modes of transport.
The writing is excellent – this is an author with a strong and distinctive voice, able to craft powerful turns of phrase, to capture scenes in a few lines and to quickly give a sense of character. The pacing is excellent.
I shall be seeking out more books from this author, she offers the blend of escapism and relevance in her work that I crave. The fantasy side is suitably fantastic, the human and emotional side of the story is potent and full of truth.
You can find out more about Miserere here – https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Miserere/Teresa-Frohock/9781597802895