Clifford Beal's Gideon's Angel will be published by Solaris Books in February 2013.
Information about Clifford Beal:
Clifford Beal, originally from Providence, Rhode Island, worked for 20 years as an international journalist and is the former editor-in-chief of Jane's Defence Weekly in London. He is the author of Quelch's Gold (Praeger Books, 2007), the true story of a little-known but remarkable early 18th century Anglo-American pirate.
Click here to visit the author official website.
And click here to read a sample of Gideon's Angel.
Information about Gideon's Angel:
1653. The long, bloody English Civil War is at an end. King Charles is dead and Oliver Cromwell rules the land. Richard Treadwell, Royalist, exile, and now soldier for the King of France, burns for revenge on those who deprived him of his family and fortune. He returns to England in secret to assassinate Cromwell.
But his is not the only plot in motion. A secret army run by a deluded Puritan is bent on the same quest, guided by the Devil's hand. When demonic entities are summoned, Treadwell finds his fortunes reversed: he must save Cromwell, or consign England to Hell...
But first he has to conted with a wife he left in Devon who believes she's a widow, a furious Parisian mistress who has trailed him to England, and a young Musketeer named d'Artagnan, sent to drag him back to France. It's a dangerous new Republic, for an old Cavalier coming home.
A REVIEW OF CLIFFORD BEAL'S GIDEON'S ANGEL
Clifford Beal's Gideon's Angel was a pleasant surprise for me. It's entertaining and immersive historical fantasy, because it's a well written combination of historical fiction, fantasy and adventure elements. This book is a first rate adventure story.
Gideon's Angel is a story about Richard Treadwell who lives in exile in France. He secretly returns to England to kill Cromwell, but finds out that he has to change his plans or England will be doomed. This isn't his only concern, because his Parisian mistress follows him to England and causes him trouble. He also has to deal with d'Artagnan who wants to take him back to France to Cardinal Mazarin.
Before I write more about this book, I'll mention that the name of this book comes from the entity that one of the characters (Gideon Fludd) summons. I won't write more about this subject, because I want to avoid writing spoilers, but I'll briefly mention that it was thrilling to read about the entity, Gideon Fludd and their plans for England.
I enjoyed reading about Richard Treadwell, because he was a realistic and believable character who wanted to avenge what was done to him and his family. Reading about Richard's predicaments and adventures was fun, because he got into all kinds of trouble.
Clifford Beal writes fluently about minor characters, which is good. Gideon Fludd, Richard's wife, Billy, Maggie and other characters are fascinating characters, so it's a pleasure to read about them. Maggie is an especially interesting character, because she's Richard's mistress and doesn't want to be left behind when Richard returns to England.
When I read this book I noticed that Clifford Beal knows a lot about history and pays attention to historical details. His view of England in the 17th century feels believable, because he has a way of making the reader feel like he or she is right there in the middle of the happenings with the main character. This book brings the gritty substances and nuances of the happenings to life in an engaging way.
I think it's good to mention that knowledge of history isn't necessary to understand what's happening in this book, but it may help readers to enjoy the story even more.
Clifford Beal handles magical elements amazingly well. He writes about them in a realistic way, which brings a lot of excitement to the story. For example, the scenes in which Richard sees what's following him are handled fantastically.
Because I'm a big fan of dark fantasy and horror stories, I noticed that this book contains a couple of dark fantasy and horror elements which were connected to magic (summoning and summoned entities). These elements were wonderful and they added a charmingly sinister atmosphere to the story.
It's good that the author knows how to write about romantic scenes in an interesting way. He doesn't dwell on them so the story doesn't become tiresome (the romantic scenes are an important and entertaining part of the story).
I loved the fight scenes, because they were surprisingly realistic. I think that the author's experiences about rapier and dagger fighting have a lot to to with the realism in the fight scenes, because first hand experience about these things explains why the scenes are so good and realistic.
This book contains several good and fluently written scenes, but I'm not going to write about all of them (I'll only mention a couple of examples). One of my favourite scenes is where Richard meets his wife after the exile. I like the way the author writes about what happens at that moment, because the wife's reaction is handled perfectly. It was also great to read what happened to Richard afterwards, because his plans didn't go exactly as planned.
In my opinion Clifford Beal's prose is amazingly good and smooth (it's great that there are debut authors who know how to write fluent prose). The story moves fast forward, so there aren't any dull moments in this book, which is very nice, because every once in a while I've read historical fantasy books in which it seems to take forever for the story to start and when something finally happens, you'll notice that there aren't any pages left to read. Fortunately this book is different and the author keeps on delivering plot twists and action scenes, which keep up the reader's interest in the story.
I think it's possible that old adventure stories may have been an inspiration to the author, because this book has the same kind of timeless charm as certain old adventure books (for example, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas came to my mind when I read this book). I also think that Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series and other similar books (and perhaps even Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane stories) may have been a source of inspiration to the author.
Because I enjoyed this book and think that it's a fine achievement, I hope that Clifford Beal will write more historical fantasy books. I noticed that he has written Quelch's Gold, which is a true story of an early 18th century Anglo-American pirate, so I think I'll try to read it in the near future.
Clifford Beal's Gideon's Angel is a good historical fantasy romp, which offers entertainment, swashbuckling, plenty of action and even romance for fans of historical fantasy and adventure stories. If you're looking for an immersive and well written historical fantasy adventure, you won't be disappointed by this book.
Gideon's Angel gets full five stars from me for its entertainment values. It's one of the most entertaining and engaging historical fantasy books I've ever read, because it's pure fast-paced escapism from start to finish. It's one hell of a good and enjoyable book.