Friday, July 5, 2013

Elisha Barber-E.C. Ambrose

Elisha Barber

E.C. Ambrose

DAW, Jul 2 2013, $25.95

ISBN 9780756408350

Elisa Barber is shaving a customer when his estranged brother Nathaniel arrives. His sibling explains that the midwife sent his wife Helena to the hospital because the baby became wedged. Irate at his sibling for allowing his anger at Elisha preventing Nathaniel from coming to him, the barber-surgeon says hospitals are deadly. He hopes to remove Helena in time and deliver the baby while unlike physician who plans to save the unborn at the expense of the mother; Eli tries to keep both alive. He fails as mother and daughter died, and Nathaniel commits suicide using Barber’s razor. Stunned he says he killed them all.

To insure his brother is buried on sacred grounds, Elisha accepts the constable’s accusation of fratricide. Though he willingly accepts his guilt for the deaths, Barber flees by joining the royal military laying siege to the Duke of Dunbury’s castle. His job is a combat field medic working on wounds and when necessary amputating limbs. Upon meeting Brigit the herbalist, Elisha learns he is an untrained magus.

The first tale of the Dark Apostle medieval fantasy is an exciting fourteenth century thriller. The protagonist is a fully developed fascinating lead who applies advanced (centuries ahead of his time) medical thinking though ironically saving lives and body parts gets him into trouble with the unenlightened; as England is vividly described as a grim nation. Although the support cast never comes across as three dimensional, readers will appreciate E.C. Ambrose’s extremely dark historical fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

No comments: