8 May 2018

(ORDER OF DARKNESS #4): DARK TRACKS.


DARK TRACKS by PHILIPPA GREGORY.


Luca Vero is a member of the secret Order of Darkness, tasked by his master to uncover the truth behind strange happenings. Alongside Lady Isolde, her friend and confidant Ishraq, Luca’s manservant Freize, and Brother Peter, Luca travels across medieval Europe – seeking out the signs of the end of days, judging the supernatural and testing the new science.

Trapped in a village possessed by a dancing madness, the group fights to keep their own sanity. When Isolde dances away in red shoes and Ishraq takes dramatic revenge on their covert assassin the young people discover that the greatest danger is in the men who have come to their rescue. These are the truly dangerous madmen of Europe who carry a dark hatred that will last for centuries. 
- Inner Front Cover Blurb

There was an angry bellow from inside the woodcutter's hovel; the woman, struggling up from the stream with a heavy bucket of icy water in each hand, raised her head and shouted back.
- First Sentence, Near Linz, Austria, March 1461

This man, in this little town, inherited his title of physician from his father who had mostly tended to the sick animals. He himself did nothing more than draw teeth and drain blood with the leeches he gathered from the river and kept writhing in jars in his larder. Sometimes he cupped people, slicing into their veins and draining out their blood, hoping to rid them of fever; sometimes he fed them burning spices hoping to warm them up. Only the strongest of his patients survived his treatment.
- Memorable Moment, Page 102

SOURCE ... A present from Mr T.

READ FOR A CHALLENGE? ... No.

MY THOUGHTS ... A fan of Philippa Gregory's historical novels. I have to admit that, as a more mature reader, though at first dubious about her branching out into the Young Adult market, I'm really rather enjoying her Order Of Darkness books ... albeit to varying degrees.

Not so enamoured of books one and three in the series (Changeling and Fool's Gold) as with book two (Stormbringers). For me, probably the strongest book in the series thus far, Dark Tracks made for interesting reading based as it is on accounts of an unexplained  phenomenon which saw people spontaneously break out into a dance-like trance.

A great exploration of fear and prejudice and how they can take hold leading to persecution. The fact that the mysterious 'creature' of the previous instalment made a re-appearance and was explained to such effect of particular delight to me. However ...

Not an aspect of the story I particularly enjoyed to begin with, alas, I was disappointed that the 'romance' took the turn I had thought it might whilst hoping it wouldn't. Arguably the perfect opportunity for the author to further explore the dynamics between the four young protagonists but I am sad given that, this aspect of the story aside, the book(s) resonate with a strong sense of female empowerment.


8 comments:

Melliane said...

a bit complictated... it's an author I heard a lot about but I haven't tried I confess

Kelly said...

I can't decide if this appeals to me or not. I do enjoy her writing, but there are still so many of her historical novels that I haven't read (and want to), I'm not sure I'll ever get to these.

Suko said...

Tracy, thanks again for your honest review. I haven't read any books by Philippa Gregory yet.

Brian Joseph said...

The plot description of this book and the series as a whole sounds very good. Too bad the books are hit and miss.

I must give Gregory a try someday.

nightwingsraven said...

Tracy,
I haven't read any of Philippa
Gregory's books yet. But what
you said in your excellent review
about for instance the unexplained
phenomenon, the exploration of fear
and prejudice and how the book
resonates with a strong sense of
female empowerment. I would consider
to add the book to my list.
Raven

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Sorry it isn't quite something you'd like but I do think this one may be for me. It has been too long since I read a book by this author!

Literary Feline said...

I wouldn't have guessed Gregory was the author of this one. I read one of her historical fiction novels years ago, and while it was entertaining, I never felt the need to read more by her. I might this though . . .

Karen Alderman said...

I hadn't realized she was writing YA now.

Karen @ For What It's Worth