Synopsis (from back of book). Nearly a thousand years after the birth of Christ, when all Europe fears that the world will soon end, an Irish monk, Brother Ciarán, discovers an ominous warning hidden in the illuminations of a religious tome. The cryptic prophecy speaks of Enoch’s device, an angelic weapon with the power to prevent the coming apocalypse.
Pursued by Frankish soldiers and supernatural forces, Ciarán and his freethinking mentor, Brother Dónall, journey to the heart of France in search of the device. There, they rescue the Lady Alais from a heretic-hunting bishop who insists mankind must suffer for its sins. Together, the trio races across Europe to locate the device, which has left clues of its passage through history. But time is running out, and if they don’t find it soon, all that they love could perish at the End of Days.
Enoch’s Device is a fast-paced medieval adventure steeped in history, mythology, and mysteries from a dark and magical past.
Richi's Review: In full disclosure I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.
This book is a blend of historic fiction, fantasy, action thriller, mystery and apoplectic themes. While trying to be all of these genres makes it interesting and more original, it overreaches and suffers from the fact that it never fully realizes any of them because it is pulled back by one of the others.
For example while some parts are historic fiction it loses a lot of realism because it is also a fantasy with magical elements, conversely the fantasy never feels like a special other world because it is also a historical fiction. As part of the same problem, the genres also lack some depth, for example we are told a little about the magic system, but it never goes into as much details as other fantasy books, because it has to move on with the other parts of the story.
The different genres aren’t really integrated, and most of the time a chapter will have the feel of just one of them rather than a blend of two or more.
I thought the thriller/mystery was well written; it had the feel of a Dan Brown novel that is set in a historical/fantasy world.
The pacing is nice and fast, and the story stays exciting and interesting throughout.
There were times were I felt the magical abilities of the characters was too powerful, especially early on in the book. This meant it never felt that the characters were in danger because they always had their magic to save them. Later in the book it was less of a problem as they were facing more powerful opponents.
There were some moments that were hard to believe, for example near the start of the book, a group of monks decide to fight some soldiers (under the command of a bishop), and to me this didn’t seem very monk-like, especially as the soldiers weren’t acting too badly. I also felt it was somewhat unrealistic that, other than the main antagonists, no-one had a problem with the main characters using magic.
The characters were okay, Brother Ciaran was interesting with a strong personality, but I did think he didn’t think or acted like a monk. He didn’t have much of a problem with killing or hurting people, he also didn’t seem to think much was wrong with the thoughts and feelings he had for Alais.
Alais was an interesting character; she was a good blend of a strong but vulnerable female who is held back by the trappings of the times.
I feel that this book is borderline adult only due to some scenes of a sexual nature, although it maybe okay for the older end of a young adult (sixteen or seventeen and older).
I really enjoyed “historical notes” at the end of the book, it lists the inspiration the author had from real events as you would expect, but he also admits where he has changed facts to make for a more interesting story, this honesty is why I decided to give the book a full four stars instead of three and a half.
Overall this was a good book, which was an interesting mixture of historical fiction, fantasy, action thriller, mystery and apoplectic themes. But by trying to be a jack-of-all-trades it becomes a master of none. It doesn’t have the depth a book has when it focuses on just one of these genres and at times it is hurt by being pulled in different directions by these different ideas. Still it was an exciting and interesting read.
rating: (4 stars)