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Fallen Angels (1984)

by Bernard Cornwell, Susannah Kells

Series: A Crowning Mercy (book 2)

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249786,008 (3.42)33
The Reign of Terror has washed the streets of France blood-red. And in England a terrified aristocracy awaits the next blow. Secure in their wealth and power, the noble Lazenders remain safe from history's violent storm behind the walls of their opulent "little kingdom." But theirs is a house under siege. With the family's heir, Toby Lazender, away in revolution-torn France hunting the brutal murderers of the woman he loved, a secret cabal of powerful and dangerous assassins--the Fallen Angels--conspires to bring the chaos to England's shores by seizing the vast resources of Lazen Castle. And in the clashing of nations--as traitors, spies, and their masters move furtively through the night--Campion's heart could be leading her to destruction ... by the hand of one she trusts above all.… (more)
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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
bookloft; pub 1984; read sometime
  18cran | Jun 4, 2021 |
“The Fallen Angels” has a lot of good things going for it, though I prefer the first book of the Crowning Mercy series. I like how the authors have created a sequel that is set in a different era, with brand new characters, yet manage to link this book back to its predecessor.

Whereas Book 1 had lots of conflict and dramatic situations, this second book starts out in a similar fashion, yet for most of the middle section it strikes me as lacklustre in some way. The last few chapters pick up the pace again, though they neither match the opening scenes, nor come close to the final stages in the first novel.

Both novels feature a heroine named Campion, with the Campion of this tale being the great-great granddaughter of the former. They are similar in appearance and personality, yet the first Campion appealed to me more.

Aspects that make this book lack sparkle is the amount of repetition and the overuse of adjectives. English style often gets overlooked in historical fiction, as most authors in this genre put all their efforts into researching the past. Content and style should complement each other.

Quite often a character is described with two or three adjectives when one would’ve sufficed. There’s a point where the character Gitan is introduced as wearing black. This information is followed up by listing all the characters garments, each of which is preceded by the word “black”, thus we have an overflow of adjectives and needless repetition.

What particularly annoyed me was the overuse of the phrases, “he/she smiled”, “he/she laughed”. One or both of these are used during almost every character interaction. This stands out more and more as the story progresses, slowing the narrative down, when in most cases the reader can imagine whether a character would smile or laugh by the context of the sentence, like with the following two:

>He smiled at her. 'It's going to be all right.'

>Her face was frowning. 'But what if he can't unblock the tunnel?'

As a rule, if a person tells someone that things will be all right, they say it with a smile. The second sentence is Campion expressing concern, thus it’s obvious what her face is doing. These additions to the dialogue, of which there are many, serve no purpose other than providing an unwanted distraction.

I do greatly admire Bernard Cornwell’s authorship, but in every book of his that I’ve read so far his weak point is always dialogue attribution. The dialogue itself is good, but he slows it down, distracting the reader with things like in the sentences above, or telling the reader which character is speaking when it’s obvious who it is.

Anyway, despite these minus points, the good parts really are good, thus it just about deserves four stars. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Jan 7, 2015 |
Enjoyable enough as an adventure novel, but the surprise reveal of the villain in the last five pages was unbelievable. ( )
  MikeRhode | Feb 21, 2014 |
Bit too much like a romance novel. Expected more from something with Cornwell's name on it. ( )
  Harrod | Mar 20, 2012 |
So much like Angels and Demons, I am surprised Brown did not get sued over this. ( )
  wandacreason | May 24, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bernard Cornwellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kells, Susannahmain authorall editionsconfirmed

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The Reign of Terror has washed the streets of France blood-red. And in England a terrified aristocracy awaits the next blow. Secure in their wealth and power, the noble Lazenders remain safe from history's violent storm behind the walls of their opulent "little kingdom." But theirs is a house under siege. With the family's heir, Toby Lazender, away in revolution-torn France hunting the brutal murderers of the woman he loved, a secret cabal of powerful and dangerous assassins--the Fallen Angels--conspires to bring the chaos to England's shores by seizing the vast resources of Lazen Castle. And in the clashing of nations--as traitors, spies, and their masters move furtively through the night--Campion's heart could be leading her to destruction ... by the hand of one she trusts above all.

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