Devils in the Breach (Lions & Devils Book 2)

Written by Jason Born
Review by Steve Donoghue

Jason Born continues his rollicking, delightfully paced series centering on 8th century Aquitaine, which is not only riven internally with the intrigue of factions but also battered by the rumored threat of war with a new threat: the forces of the Muslim Caliphate, soldiered by Berber warriors and led by Arab commanders.

Aquitaine is ruled by Duke Eudo, a comparatively enlightened figure who has as little domestic peace as international peace. His eldest son Hunoald is missing, and his younger son Remistanius is a bit of a feckless twerp … as usual, the threat of national annihilation comes at simply the worst time.

The same qualities that made Born’s “Norseman” and “Wald” series so endlessly readable are here present in all their strength: the dialogue is sharp, the pacing of the plot is gripping, and the action sequences are filled with white-knuckle tension. And the novel of course has a darker contemporary resonance; when an Arab commander comments, “Allah told Muhammad that his people were better than others and he could kill for it,” readers will think as much about recent headlines as they will about Born’s plot lines.

This is a bracingly good entry in an excellent series – strongly recommended.