Dan picked up my ARC of Aidan Harte’s Irenicon, just to see what it was, and couldn’t put it down. The two of us spent the rest of this past week hovering at each other’s elbows, saying things like, “Finish the chapter and pass it to me already, would you?” My review deadline eventually trumped Dan’s obsession, so I got to finish it first. The book has its imperfections, but I think almost any fantasy reader would find it satisfying.
“There’s something very Beltresin about this book,” said Dan when I handed it back to him. “I can’t quite put my finger on it. Why do I feel like I could walk from this novel right into yours?”
“Harte must have read a lot of the same history for his Rasenna that I read for my first attempt at writing in Beltresa. That’s so long ago, I’d almost forgotten.” And I had. Beltresa has swallowed and transformed too much Max Weber and Thomas Paine and who-knows-what to feel like Renaissance Italy to me anymore.
“His heroine reminds me of that chick who led that army to that fortress when she was however many months pregnant. What was her name again?”
“She was one of the main early ingredients in Stisele, too.”
“Well,” said Dan, “now you know what to tell your friends who ask what to read while they wait for you to come back to the Big Book.” And he dove back into the haunted waters of the Irenicon.
So, faithful beta readers, there you have it.