Janua Vera (2008) by Jean-Philippe Jaworski

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Background

The Old Kingdom has collapsed after the death of the God-King Leodegar the Radiant. After his death the kingdom collapses into many warring fiefdoms and duchies. Born out of this chaos are noble heroes, remorseless assassins, and bloodthirsty barbarians.

 

Story

This novel is made up of a series of novellas of various lengths. Essentially the purpose of the book is worldbuilding for later novels.

One of the stories follows assassin Benvenuto Gesufal, who lives in the Republic of Ciudalia, as he tries to carry out a contract. Things, of course, don’t go according to plan and he is forced to flee for some time before he decides to confront his mark. The story is intriguing and well written, but its purpose, much like the rest of the stories, is to provide exposition.

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About the Author

(Translated from jacket)

Jean-Philippe Jaworski, born in 1969, is the creator of two role playing games: Tiers Age and Te Deum pour un massacre. He combines a Peter S. Beagle-like cheekiness and love of fairy tales with an Alexandre Dumas-like cleverness and sense of adventure. His first collection of short stories, Janua Vera, was awarded the Prix du Cafard Cosmique in 2008. His first novel, Gagner la guerre (To Win the War), was released in 2009.

 

Commentary

 

When I began reading this book I found it quite enjoyable, but despite Jaworski’s writing skill, which is quite good indeed, I found my mind beginning to wander at some parts and it really was a struggle to finish the book. If I were to recommend this book to anyone it would be people interested in a Dark Ages, feudalistic fantasy setting, but casual fantasy readers would find this a bore, in my opinion.

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