Where Devils Tread: Lions & Devils Book Three

Written by Jason Born
Review by Steve Donoghue

The massive concluding volume in Jason Born’s Lions & Devils trilogy (after Hell Shall Stir and Devils in the Breach) draws together all the strands that have woven through his sweeping, complex story centering on the clash between Frankish defenders and Islamic invaders in 8th-century Europe. We meet Duke Eudo of Aquitaine, embroiled in a long, simmering, and often erupting conflict with the forces of the Caliphate under Wali Rahman, with the warlike Charles Martel, known to history as “The Hammer of the Franks,” constantly lurking on the periphery, looking to score any victories he can against his hated enemy, Duke Eudo. The story is likewise told of loyal Caliphate fighter Munnuza, rendered here with the same intricate humanity as the more culturally recognizable Western characters.

Indeed, despite the old-fashioned panoramic sweep of all his books (and not just in this trilogy—Born is a long-time master of the genre), the author’s true knack is for fascinating the reader on the personal level of his many characters, who dream and curse and revel in dry humor and irony, and who feel intensely, immediately human despite their exotic settings and despite the breakneck pace of Where Devils Tread. This is an outstanding conclusion to an outstanding series. Highly recommended.