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Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman

Between Two Fires (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Christopher Buehlman

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10510114,970 (3.71)14
Title:Between Two Fires
Authors:Christopher Buehlman
Info:Ace Hardcover (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman (2012)



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I picked this up in a hurry in advance of a transatlantic flight and only skimmed the blurb, so I saw that it was historical fiction taking place during the Black Death but not that it was also fantasy horror. That's not usually a genre I read much (if at all), so that I kept reading to the end is testimony to Buehlman's ability to write an engaging yarn and conjure up vivid (if entirely horrifying) imagery. Towards the end, Between Two Fires' pacing does falter a little and there's a faint hint of McGuffin to the overall plot; Buehlman also skirts right up to the line of confusing repeated references to a vulgar term for the vagina with gritty historical realism. Still, if this is your kind of genre, I think you're likely to enjoy this book. ( )
  siriaeve | Jan 9, 2017 |
As rich and fascinating as it is horrifying, this certainly won't be for every reader--or even most--but for the right reader... well, for some readers, it's a surprising and terrifying wonder. Taking place against the backdrop of 1348 and the Black Death, the book's setting is already somewhat terrifying--and more than any other work I've come across, this book really does capture some of the horror of the plague. But even beyond this level of nightmarish reality, the sometimes subtle supernatural element to the book is so striking as to lend another layer of reality and horror.

Angels, monsters, a disgraced night, a sad priest, and a strange orphan who knows something of the angels of God... and this is their terrifying journey, full of strange beauty and horror and heartbreak.

Again, this isn't for every reader--I love horror, and I sometimes found myself cringing--but Buehlman's skill as a story-teller is expert, and this book is as beautiful and beautifully written as it is horrifying. A lot of adjectives? Well, yes, but this book has everything.

If you dare, I'd certainly recommend it. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Oct 31, 2016 |
Amalgam of historical, fantasy, horror and some folktale mixed in. It didn't grab me. I think it was trying to be too many different things at one time. I feel this tale of disgraced knight, unpriestly priest and young girl--witch or angel?-- traveling to Avignon to stop a battle between good and evil is contrived. Best part was author's retelling of Battle of Crécy and the Epilogue. This teaches me to avoid such drivel from now on. Did the folks who gave this such glowing reviews read the same book I did? ( )
  janerawoof | Feb 16, 2016 |
This book reads like one of those Dark Age plague paintings of grotesque demons tormenting people in various methods.

It is a grim read, but with art. It is not overwrought in the style of the "Grimdark" fantasy authors as can be seen in the way a delicate hand is used at other times.

The ending is rather obtuse and may leave one somewhat bemused. ( )
  StaticBlaq | Apr 26, 2015 |
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 |
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Book description
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.

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