Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#Tuesday Review - Against a Brightening Sky by Jamie Lee Moyer (Historical Fiction)

Series: Delia Martin # 3
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Library
Genre: Historical Fiction

A ghost princess and a woman with nothing but a name to her fortune might change the course of history.

By 1919 the Great War has ended, peace talks are under way in Paris, and the world has been forever changed. Delia Martin, apprentice practitioner of magical arts, and her husband, Police Captain Gabriel Ryan, face the greatest challenge of their lives when fragments from the war descend on San Francisco.

As Delia prepares to meet friends at a St. Patrick's Day parade, the strange ghost of a European princess appears in her mirror. Her pleasant outing becomes a nightmare as the ghost reappears moments after a riot starts, warning her as a rooftop gunman begins shooting into the crowd. Delia rushes to get her friends to safety, and Gabe struggles to stop the killing—and to save himself.

Delia and Gabe realize all the chaos and bloodshed had one purpose—to flush Alina from hiding, a young woman with no memory of anything but her name.

As Delia works to discover how the princess ghost's secrets connect to this mysterious young woman, and Gabe tracks a ruthless killer around his city, they find all the answers hinge on two questions: Who is Alina...and why can't she remember?

Against a Brightening Sky is the thrilling conclusion to Moyer's glittering historical fantasy series

Against a Brightening Sky is the third and final installment in the Delia Martin series by author Jamie Lee Moyer. The story opens in the Spring of 1919 with World War I, and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in the rear view mirror. Delia, her husband Police Captain Gabriel Ryan, and their friends Lieutenant Jack and Sadie Fitzgerald are out to watch the St. Patrick's Day Parade. What should have been a lovely spring day, turns into anything but after Delia is warned by a ghost that something bad is about to happen. 

Soon marchers begin to riot, gunmen open fire into the crowd, and explosions leave even more innocent people dead. What becomes clear is that the gunmen were trying to lure out a woman by the name of Alina from hiding. But, what makes Alina so special that these people would go through great lengths to get to her? Why would a woman with no memories be targeted? As Delia and Gabe investigate the killings, and the timing of the arrival of a ghost that looks like a princess of some renown, it becomes apparent that real evil has come to San Francisco, and nobody is safe. Not even a 2 year old boy who is sensitive to ghosts.

For most of Delia's life, her most loyal companions have been ghosts. Yes, she has been gifted, some say cursed, with the ability to see across the other side, and to see through disguises. Over the past 4 years (or 3 books), Delia faced a number of challenges and somehow come out on top. She's still being trained by her mentor and friend Isador Bobet, but she is now more courageous and much more determined to help ghosts transverse to the next plane. In fact, she's helped several thousand do just that since this series began and she learned about her abilities.  I do love the fact that Moyer alternates between Delia and Gabe. I like this fact because it gives both characters a chance to shine in their own ways.

Gabe has also come a long way since he married Delia. He is more accepting that she can see and help ghosts. He is more secure in asking for Delia and Dora's help in solving crimes of the bizarre nature. He's also a genuinely good guy as proven when a black cop from Chicago, Lieutenant Jordan Lynch, arrives to collect his own badge that was used in the San Francisco riots. I do like the fact that Moyer doesn't skim over the plight of black officers in this era. Then again, realism is something that makes this series so appealing to me. 

I would like to point out that Moyer has made this series something of a trip down memory lane for those who lived in the early 20th Century San Francisco. Moyer spins a tail that is ripe with historical individuals, and if you don't catch on to who the characters to whom she is referring to in this story, you hopefully will by the time the ending comes around. This story mixes a very dangerous necromancer, an even older Guardian who tries to guide Delia, and a realistic look at the Russian revolution that forced out the last Czar and his family, and forced thousands of Russians into fleeing for their lives.

I'm going to close my review by saying that I highly recommend that you research the Bolshevik Revolution which brought communism to the new Soviet Union. Why you ask? Because a large part of this story revolves around that historic event and the flood of Russian refugees that came to America. I recommend that you read about the last Tsar, Nicholas II and his family. I know that some of you have read stories about the possibility that Grand Duchess Anastasia actually survived the brutal murders of her family. But, like all things in history, you have to becareful of the sources and what the person has to gain in twisting their own stories.   

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