Bane of Kings reviews the second novel in Pat Kelleher’s No Man’s World Series, The Ironclad Prophecy, published by Abaddon Books.
“This series just keeps getting and better. Awesome stuff.” ~The Founding Fields
Warning! This review may contain spoilers for the previous novel in the series, Black Hand Gang, I strongly suggest you read that novel first before you read this one.
If you’ve been following this website for quite a while now, you may recall my review of Black Hand Gang, the first novel in the No Man’s World Series by Pat Kelleher, published, as mentioned above, by Abaddon Books, an industry that I’ve come to enjoy despite having only read Black Hand Gang and The Ironclad Prophecy from them.
But don’t fret, if you’re a fan of Abaddon Books, there’s more on the way. However, I’m not here to tell you what’s coming soon. I’m here to review the next adventure in the saga of the 13th Pennine Fusiliers, and what they get up to on the alien world that has now become their home, after they were whisked away from the trenches of the Great War in Black Hand Gang.
The Ironclad Prophecy picks up three months after the events in the previous book, and I have to say, that I certainly enjoyed this read, perhaps even more than Black Hand Gang. Kelleher has improved, and his writing, the characters and the flow of the story are better for it.
If you haven’t got the message from the last book, nowhere is safe, and this is a world that you really wouldn’t want to live in, and it’s a wonder that the soldiers have survived as long as they have done when you think of the many dangers that out there just waiting to get their teeth into the brave soldiers that have previously been fighting against the Germans.
Now, they’re fighting against pretty much everything that No Man’s World has to throw at them.
The Khungarri are on the verge of overcoming the 13th Pennine Fusiliers, and with the HMLS Ivanhoe, a tank that could possibly turn the war in their favour, missing, the protagonist of the last instalment, Thomas ‘Only’ Atkins leads a task force to hunt it down. However, whilst they are wading through the jungle around them, The Black Hand Gang come across a secret that will, no matter the outcome, have consequences for the regiment.
I was a little anxious about starting The Ironclad Prophecy, mainly because I was worried that Kelleher would screw things up in the second book, as most movie sequels do, ala Iron Man 2, but my worries were shoved aside by the third chapter, and by the time I had put the book down, I had no doubts at all about the fact that this was a very enjoyable book.
The characters are well-varied, and the problems that I found present in Black Hand Gang, such as heavy description, was reduced in this book, allowing the pace to become faster and not dragged down by that.
I keep mentioning that The Ironclad Prophecy is a significant improvement on the previous book in the series, and that’s because it is, in almost every way. You feel more sympathy for the characters when they die, the action is well-written and, like the previous book, varied, and several of the characters are likeable.
The plot in this novel can be summed up briefly as a race against time, so even the smallest disruption will have a consequence for Atkins and his men.
Indeed, some scenes in this novel are very enjoyable, and I’d love to talk about the end of the book, but then I’d be spoiling stuff for you, and we don’t want that, do we?
Also, if The Ironclad Prophecy improved from Black Hand Gang, I wonder if the next book in the series, entitled The Alleyman, will be another step up in quality. I can’t wait to find out, and that book is defiantly high on my ‘books to read as soon as they come out’ list.
I am pleased to say that like its predecessor, a lot of research has been put into The Ironclad Prophecy, and like usual, if you find yourself lost with some of the WW1 terms, then all you have to do is flick to the back of the book.
More No Man’s World: Black Hand Gang, The Ironclad Prophecy, The Alleyman (Coming Soon)