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Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman
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Between Two Fires (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Christopher Buehlman

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516229,653 (4)3
Member:alizarin
Title:Between Two Fires
Authors:Christopher Buehlman
Info:Ace Hardcover (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Review Posted on Tenacious Reader

Holy Hell. This book. I’m not even sure where to begin. I found this in my library’s audiobook selection. Gave it a closer look as it seemed to be neither YA nor PNR. That’s quite an unusual (and desirable) find given my library’s more typical offerings. I went to check out what others thought of it on Goodreads. And. NONE of my 100+ genre reading Goodreads friends have read it. Seriously? This made me have some doubts. Surely if it was worth a read, someone would have read it by now. I mean, I think I read a lot, but I don’t even come close to going through books like some of my pals on Goodreads. But, it sounded interesting, and it cost me nothing but a bit of time to check it out. I figured if I didn’t like it I could just find something else, no harm done.

But I never lost interest. Instead I was pulled in to what I first thought was going to be more of a Historical Fiction type of book with just a bit of Fantasy bend to it. And it definitely is a historical fiction setting/feel with beautifully crafted prose that flows easily. The story takes place in France, the year is 1348 and the land and people are ravaged with plague. Just the plague is horrifying enough. Then add in war and the cruelties of mankind. The book made it clear, this was quite a dreadful time and place to live.

Oh, but don’t stop there. Let’s bring in the supernatural. And not in a typical fantasy type of way, with dragons soaring overhead, or sorcery being tossed about, but more in a lurking, terrifying, perhaps rip you asunder, you don’t know what the hell just hit you (or them) kind of way. And then beyond the gore, there is also the daunting presence of something else, some otherworldly beings dipping their hand into the works, trying to control the affairs of men to serve who knows what hidden agenda. This book is creepy. This book is violent. This book is FREAKIN FANTASTIC! And no, not just because it is creepy and violent. It’s how the characters and the setting and the creepy parts all worked together. It just seemed to find an excellent balance. This is also not a book for the faint of heart.

I really enjoyed the character Thomas, a fallen knight that has been traveling with some quite despicable brigands. But then he meets a girl; an orphaned girl living alone with her father’s corpse. But, something about this girl is different. She sees things and knows things that are beyond explanation. I absolutely love the dynamic between Thomas and this girl. I hate to say too much more for fear of spoilers. But trust me, this is a journey I won’t soon forget.

This book was an unexpectedly wonderful and terrifying find. Like I said before, if you are squeamish, or shy away from books with rape or graphic violence, put this book on your never read list. But for those of you like me that are fans of dark and gritty fantasy, definitely add this one to your list. It is well worth the read.

And a quick mention for the audiobook format, it was excellent. The narrator did a marvelous job with the suspense and using just the right inflections on words to get across any dark humor. A book depends heavily on the narrator’s ability to be turned into a successful audiobook and as much as I loved this book, he obviously did a fantastic job. ( )
  tenaciousreader | Jun 22, 2014 |
Christopher Buehlman is amazing, taking horror to a decidedly new level. This book is rich in allegory. It is beautiful and horrible and tells a story fantastic. Definitely recommended. ( )
  enemyanniemae | Jun 17, 2013 |
When the Plague swept down from the Steppes through Europe its speed and destruction must have seemed like the end of days. As if God had abandoned them and Devil's roamed the land. Christopher Buehlman's new book Between Two Fires takes that premise literally. In lesser hands this might have fallen apart, but Buehlman does an outstanding job combining the historical, religious and supernatural themes into a wonderful and wild read. Well done. ( )
  erikschreppel | Nov 27, 2012 |
could not finish it. ( )
  maryintexas39 | Nov 16, 2012 |
I really loved Christopher Buehlman's first novel Those Across the River. In a way I wish I had read this book first because the bar was set so high for me with that book. It may be that I just prefer my horror with a Gothic Southern take rather than a plague filled medieval French one. The closest I can come up with for a description of this book would be that it was a kind of a supernatural Canterbury Tales.

The plot revolves around a disgraced knight who finds redemption in a young girl who may be an angel or she may be a demon. He's never quite sure. The knight and a priest get sucked into her quest to do something. They are never quite sure what but there are a lot of battle with demons and angels along the way. The end was left a little ambiguous and I am someone who likes everything wrapped in a neat bow with an exclamation point at the end.

There were some great horror filled moments and I think the novel started out really strong. It was the end that started to lose me. Be prepared for a lot of gritty descriptions, many involving plague ravished victims. Although I didn't completely love this novel I still love Christopher Buehlman and his writing will be eagerly checking out whatever he comes up with next. ( )
  arielfl | Nov 8, 2012 |
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The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found a young girl alone in a dead Norman village. An orphan of the Black Death, and an almost unnerving picture of innocence, she tells Thomas that plague is only part of a larger cataclysm—that the fallen angels under Lucifer are rising in a second war on heaven, and that the world of men has fallen behind the lines of conflict.

Is it delirium or is it faith? She believes she has seen the angels of God. She believes the righteous dead speak to her in dreams. And now she has convinced the faithless Thomas to shepherd her across a depraved landscape to Avignon. There, she tells Thomas, she will fulfill her mission: to confront the evil that has devastated the earth, and to restore to this betrayed, murderous knight the nobility and hope of salvation he long abandoned.

As hell unleashes its wrath, and as the true nature of the girl is revealed, Thomas will find himself on a macabre battleground of angels and demons, saints, and the risen dead, and in the midst of a desperate struggle for nothing less than the soul of man.
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In 1348, after a young girl left orphaned by the Black Death predicts a coming apocalypse, Thomas, a disgraced knight, finds himself in the middle of a second war on heaven as angels fight demon.

(summary from another edition)

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