Pariah, by Dan Abnett: Short Review
This is the first book in the third trilogy of Dan Abnett’s Inquisitorial “trilogy of trilogies”, the first two being Eisenhorn and Ravenor (though Eisenhorn is now of course a quadrilogy thanks to the addition of The Magos). Blurb:
In the city of Queen Mab, nothing is quite as it seems. Pariah, spy and Inquisitorial agent, Alizebeth Bequin is all of these things and yet none of them. An enigma, even to herself, she is caught between Inquisitors Gregor Eisenhorn and Gideon Ravenor, former allies now enemies who are playing a shadow game against a mysterious and deadly foe. Coveted by the Archenemy, pursued by the Inquisition, Bequin becomes embroiled in a dark plot of which she knows not her role or purpose. Helped by a disparate group of allies, she must unravel the secrets of her life and past if she is to survive a coming battle in which the line between friends and foes is fatally blurred.
It took me a little while to get into this one. Stylistically it's very different from the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies, which is not a bad thing in and of itself, of course, but I think it just ran counter to my expectations. As usual, Abnett's worldbuilding is second-to-none, filled with those little throwaway names and details which make a setting so believable. Geographically it's a much more focused novel in the same way the Magos was - no planet hopping or huge interstellar intrigues here, as in the first two trilogies. People expecting a rehash of those will probably be disappointed. I would also say that this book will be practically unintelligible, plotwise, for those not intricately familiar with Eisenhorn and Ravenor; a great deal of existing knowledge and back story is assumed, which was not a problem for me, but would be problem for someone unfamiliar with the broader series and context. There are also a large number of small blink-and-you-miss-it details which, again, would be lost on someone who had not read the first two trilogies (and, dare I say, recently).
But, generally, another solid inquisitorial effort from Abnett which I cannot find any great fault with. An "I liked it" 3 stars.