Book Title: The Book Of The Crowman (The Black Dawn Volume 2) | Author: Joseph D’Lacey | Publisher: Angry Robot Books | Published On: February 25, 2014
The Book Of The Crowman is the concluding volume to the Black Dawn series. Gordon still searches for the Crowman while Megan chronicles his journey, but the stakes are high and the war against the Ward will be lost if the Crowman isn’t found in time.
It is the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, the earth wracked and dying.
It is the Bright Day, a time long generations hence, when a peace has descended across the world.
The search for the shadowy figure known only as the Crowman continues, as the Green Men prepare to rise up against the forces of the Ward.
The world has been condemned. Only Gordon Black and The Crowman can redeem it.
Please Note: The Book Of The Crowman is volume 2 of a duology. If you haven’t read the first book Black Feathers, you can buy it directly from Angry Robot Books, or also read Captain Doomsday’s Recommendation.
It’s three years after the events of Black Feathers and Gordon Black is older and a lot more ferocious. Roving between Green Men patrols as they take on the Ward, he is still searching for the Crowman. Stopping for shelter in the city, he meets Denise and Flora, the latter of whom gives him the first lead on the Crowman that Gordon has had in a long time. What follows is Gordon’s desperate attempt to find the Crowman before the Green Men and Ward armies clash.
And meanwhile, in the Bright Day, Megan Maurice continues her Keeper training, chronicling Gordon’s story and learning the price she must pay to keep the Bright Day shining – and the truth behind being a Keeper.
What’s so great about it?
Just about everything, to be honest. The Book Of The Crowman builds upon its predecessor and then some. It opens with a bang and while it has its slow points, the pressure is always on for both Gordon and Megan in their separate epochs. The escalating stakes and the sense of building pressure compel the reader to consume this work in as few sittings as possible. Some of the confronting scenes did require a bit of reflection and a short break from the story but were at the same time utterly absorbing.
The characters that live and breath in the world the author has created are complex and not always clear in their loyalties or their motives. The interplay between them feels real and doesn’t bog down in melodrama as much as a story about the Earth rebelling against its poor treatment could. Happily, the story never gets preachy either – this might be an eco-apocalypse but the plot comes first here. Sermons don’t get a look-in.
The ending will stay with you for a long time, with horrific scenes of battle and death in the Black Dawn era, countered by truths that Megan discovers in the Bright Day. The ultimate ending is a very satisfying close to the duology and bought to mind the ending of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger saga, although not in the way you might think.
What’s not great about it?
The only thing I didn’t really like about The Book Of The Crowman was the addition of a couple of extra POV’s. Having finished the book, I know why they’re in there and they’re very well written – I just prefer the intimacy of having only Gordon and Megan’s views. It’s a minor niggle and only here because I’ve got to have something to counter the gushiness.
Recommended by Captain Doomsday
The author, as in the previous book, once again excels at painting a believable and followable sense of not just impending doom but the breakdown of the Earth itself. He can set a scene with minimal waste and satisfying freshness and bring it to life in a way that only the best storytellers can.
While that alone would justify my recommendation, the well-drawn characters, masterful action, and genuinely dreadful scenes of horror that wrap themselves into this well-paced plot are selling points with just as much weight. Add in a memorable ending and this is one of those books that I just can’t recommend enough.