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Book Review 

Jaine Fenn - Principles of Angels

BRINGER OF LIGHT by Jaine Fenn
Gollancz / 402pgs / £18.99 hardcover / ISBN: 978-0575096943
/£12.99 trade paperback / ISBN: 978-0575096950
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan

In this, the fourth book in The Hidden Empire sequence, Jaine Fenn begins to bring together strands that she has been developing over the first three volumes. In the first, PRINCIPLES OF ANGELS, we were introduce to Taro, a boy existing on the underside of the flying city of Khesh, and Nual, an assassin employed by the same city. Nual is a female Sidhe, a dangerous race that was supposedly destroyed millennia ago. Khesh is operated by a male Sidhe and the sexes are deadly enemies.

Jarek, the third member of the team, spent volume two, CONSORTS OF HEAVEN, on the planet of Serenein, a world kept hidden from the rest of the inhabited universe. He has discovered that the female Sidhe are using it to breed boys whose brains are used to power the FTL ships. Jarek, Taro and Nual connect in GUARDIANS OF PARADISE and flee in Jarek's ship when the Sidhe send a hit squad to kill her. This novel is pure space opera with plenty of tension and action. BRINGER OF LIGHT belongs to the same stable.

The plan is to persuade the male Sidhe to give them a beacon which they can set up near Serenein. This should connect the planet to the rest of civilisation and effectively bring a halt to the trade in psychically talented boys. Naturally, it isn't as easy as they anticipate especially as Khesh insists on sending an avatar with them to protect the location of the male Sidhe's domain. In the meantime, the people Jarek left running things on Serenein are having their own problems trying to keep the status quo long enough for Jarek to return.

Fenn is very good at action and plotting but she does not spend the time developing the emotional side to her characters. Taro and Nual are lovers and have a mental link but the passion between them is subdued. Readers who have enjoyed the previous novels will like the way the plot is pushed along here. New readers will need to begin with volume one.

(Reprinted from the BSFG Newsletter © 2012)