My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Double-Edged Sword is the first of the Nowhere Chronicles, a new series by author Sarah Silverwood. Whilst I’m usually terribly cynical about series (seriously, if I read anymore tenuous trilogies I will weep), I found this was pretty much made for me. My dad brought me up on tales of the Knights Templar, I used to be obsessed with secret doors (trust me, you make your own entertainment in French chateaux) and when I discovered elements of both of these in The Double-Edged Sword, it made my day.
Or to be a bit more pithy : It’s The Chronicles of Narnia meets The Lord of The Rings meets China Mieville’s Un Lun Dun. And it’s cracking stuff.
The story of Finmere Tingewick Smith and his slow discovery of the truth behind his past is gloriously cinematic in scale. It’s big. Very big. There’s a lot of scope here. The opening few chapters of this book have an intensely visual feel to them; certain scenes like the ‘shaving’ would just translate perfectly to screen. Silverwood handles her scenes excellently, creating some beautiful reading setpieces which translate brilliantly to the reader.
I can imagine that the pacing of this might prove of issue to many readers. There’s a lot of scene-setting and quiet character development. Nothing “big” happens for quite a while and when the action finally kicks in, it’s a little too far towards the end of the novel. However I did love this quiet, steady introduction to the story. I really did. It’s a mark of Silverwood’s ability that she’s able to make you invest in a character when there’s nothing really massive going on. It is the little character moments that make a book worth reading and this had them in spades. Hopefully this pacing won’t reoccur in the second novel in the series and was just a result of the ‘bigger picture’ across the books.