PRINCE OF LIES
Night’s Masque Volume 3.
By Anne Lyle.
Mal is back in London with Sandy, although daily it seems his twin is becoming more skrayling and less the brother he knew and loved. But there are bigger things to worry about. The guisers must be driven out of England. Mal will have to warn the skraylings of the trouble his actions in Venice brought and seek their help to rid the land of threat. Unfortunately the guisers are not easily identifiable, so before they can beat them, they will have to find them.
Coby and Sandy are still guarding the precious soul they picked up in Venice and keeping the secret very close to their chests. The separation from Mal while he is on his next mission, however, is taking its toll on Coby; she longs to be part of the action just as much as she longs to keep them all safe from it. Magic, romance, Shakespeare and disguises all play a part in this conclusion to the Night’s Masque trilogy.
Prince of Lies picks up slightly farther on than the end of book two with the characters back in England, and overall there is a more settled feel to the narrative throughout. Like its predecessors the essence of the book relies on tension and the sense that danger is constantly right in front of the characters or just around the corner. The fight sequences in particular are detailed and well portrayed.
Since her in-depth development earlier in the series, in this volume Coby feels very much relegated to the background, playing the part of Mal’s distant companion and Kit’s keeper rather than being particularly core to the action and story herself. Mal is certainly very much back in the centre of things, and though he is an entertaining and exciting protagonist, the gap left by Coby’s back step is noticeable.
The large focus on relationships in this volume – in particular that of Mal and Coby, and of Erishen’s place in all their lives – whilst increasing the reader’s emotional connection to the characters in general does slow the pace. A new point of view character introduced in part two changes the dynamic of the story and opens the narrative to aid this for the latter part of the book. The conclusion is no means lacking in pace or action and delivers a satisfying finish to the story whilst very much leaving the possibility of future adventures.