I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday.
‘All the Plagues of Hell’ is filled with plot twists, confusion, romance and battles
By MARK LARDAS
Feb 19, 2019
“All the Plagues of Hell,” by Eric Flint and David Freer, Baen Books, 2018, 432 pages, $25
There are few better pure storytellers than Eric Flint and David Freer. Individually they’re entertaining. Together, the result is splendid.
“All the Plagues of Hell,” by Eric Flint and David Freer is the latest novel in the Heirs of Alexandria fantasy series. Set in the middle of the 15th century, it’s alternate history. In this world magic works.
This book centers on Count Kazimierz Mindaug, a long-standing series villain. A Lithuanian nobleman, he fled Lithuania after a failed attempt to kill its leader, Duke Jagiellon (possessed by the demon Chernobog). Mindaug took shelter in Hungary serving the evil King Emeric of Hungary and Countess Elizabeth Barthody. Both were killed earlier in the series. Mindaug escaped, but their destruction left Mindaug with no protector against Chernobog, vengefully pursuing Mindaug.
He flees west, to realms protected by the Knights of the Holy Trinity. They destroy evil magicians and demons. They are hunting Mindaug. Regardless, realms protected by the Knight are safer for Mindaug than other territory, because they keep Chernobog out.
Mindaug cannot use magic. That would draw both Chernobog and the Knights to him. He disguises himself as a book seller to allow him to bring his library and seeks a home in a less perilous climate. He chooses Italy because it’s outside the Holy Roman Empire of the Knights. Along the way he gains two servants (the first to ever serve him willingly) and settles in the Duchy of Milan.
Unknown to Mindaug, who only wants quiet, Milan is about to be attacked. Worse still, a noblewoman in Milan, attempting to gain power is unwittingly unleashing a disease demon, one which will release the plague on the world. The Knights attribute her magic to Mindaug. For once innocent, Mindaug is avoiding magic serving Milan’s Duke as an alchemist developing pyrotechnics.
The Knights are closing on Mindaug, seeking to kill him. Yet he may be the only person able to stop the plague.
“All the Plagues of Hell” is filled with plot twists, misunderstood motives leading to confusion, romance, and battle. Flint and Freer have produced another delightful book.
Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.