I probably wouldn't have found this book, or decided to read it, if the author hadn't contacted me through Twitter. Since Subterfuge in Heart met all my review requirements, I decided to go ahead and agree to review it. I'm pleased to say the decision paid off; this is a wonderfully well-written book. When I review it on Amazon, I'll give it five stars -- but it really deserves six.
From the first page, it became clear to me that this book was a cut above the rest. To be perfectly honest, as a writer it made me feel like a bit of a hack. So I decided, quite early, to leave my own literary leanings at the door and look at this book like a reader instead of a writer.
It was impossible not to get swept away in the narrative, anyway. Like Charles Dickens, Tobias Troy begins the story with the birth of the protagonist, immediately introducing the reader to a fascinatingly complicated mind. Our hero is a genius, and his storyteller (Troy) is brilliant. I felt deeply emotional during the first part of the book, reading about the hero and his best friend, David. Their relationship grew more complex, as most relationships do, as they grew up together, and Troy presents the tale beautifully. Throughout part 1 of the story, there is a hint of the fantastical elements that will come in part 2.
That's when the story takes an amazing turn, and becomes something else entirely. I'm never going to be accused of being a fantasy book lover, but I didn't consider putting the book down for one moment even when everything changed. Part 2 introduces action, deep pathos and vivid scenes that do justice to the majesty of human emotion.
Troy is truly a gifted writer, and his particular use of language creates an enthralling voice. I will read anything he writes.