Chivalry is oddly in vogue these days. The ideals of the Code of Chivalry are, sadly, not. The grim, dark nonsense of much high fantasy these days seems to take pleasure in eviscerating any lingering notions we might have that the ideals of honor, etc. were anything but cynical lies. Martin loves to do this. Anthony Ryan did this so much that his books went from four star material to less than one star. Even Guy Gavriel Kay can’t help but be a little cynical in his tale of troubadour love, A Song for Arbonne.
Then I stumbled on this series. Oh, it’s dark all right. The violence is almost clinical, it’s so vivid. There’s lots of swearing, lots of blasphemy, lots of darkness. But Miles Cameron is a true knight. He knows the Middle Ages, since he lives them (quite literally, the man is a professional reenactor) every day of his life. He can honestly see the brutality and the violence of the age, but he sees it in technicolor, not the drab browns of Kristen Stewart’s offensive and idiotic Snow White. And he is honest about that age being an Age of Faith. For the first time in a long time, I was actually swept away by the spectacle of grand writing nearly as effective as Tolkien, and at least one scene was enough to nearly make we weep with pleasure at its grandness and its glimmer of ultimate truth.
However. I have a feeling that Miles Cameron, the man, is setting me up for a big fall. Through various characters’ thoughts, I think the author is suggesting that there is nothing more to the metaphysical than the very dull ying-yang of competing powers being held in a kind of balance. Personally, I find that unspeakably boring, but at this point it is merely a hint.
So I will continue to enjoy the unironic and uncynical portrayal of medieval religion with as much pleasure as the grand spectacle of the battle scenes.