The Sons of Brabant by Michael Bolan is a well-crafted and interesting¬ mixture of historical fiction and fantasy. The book’s events are firmly rooted in the real-world setting of 17th Century Europe.
Woven into this background is a story about a mercenary war band led by a trio of siblings intent on getting revenge on their evil brother who has cheated them out of their royal inheritance. The overarching sense of realism is disturbed by as mattering of fantasy, and the lightness of touch that Bolan employs when he injects magical elements into the story gives the book a unique feel.
There are no dragons, no wizards, no overt supernatural events that are a common staple of the fantasy genre, and this restraint serves to make the magic, when it does appear, all the more potent. The writing is solid, the plot is well worked out, and the historical knowledge is impressive.
I personally didn’t know much about the period before reading this book, but Bolan’s knowledgeable tone and confident handling persuaded me that he knows his stuff. Bolan has imbued the main characters, and many of the minor ones, with their own distinctive personalities, a challenging feat for writers.
Having said this, the book’s sole female character seems to fade somewhat from the story after a strong start, which seemed a pity, but perhaps she has a more prominent role to play in later books in the series. This is very much a “part one” in a series, as the ending leaves many plot threads dangling.
I’d recommend this book to readers interested in historical fiction and in particular the international relations and military affairs of 17th Century Europe.
4 of 5 Stars, Review by Neil McFarlane for eBook Review Gal