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Against the Light

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  491 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
The Hierarchy, high priests of the religious order the Light, has installed King Ethan as the monarchical figurehead, ruling both the magical kingdom of Albi and its predominant religion. Scattered throughout the land, worshipers in the old ways of the Earth Mother are persecuted as heretics. And when young missionary student Rollo Woodbridge returns home to Albi, he is im ...more
Paperback, 484 pages
Published 2012 by 47North
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I'd read every book that I could find of Dave Duncan's King's Blades series and was excited to see another Dave Duncan adventure novel. Like his earlier novels, Against the Light has quite a lot of magic woven into the plot but this time the ability to use magic and belief in magic that divides political factions.

The extent of the bitterness and acrimony between the sides becomes clear early in the novel. The magic divide is reminiscent of the religious divide between the Catholics and the Chur
Marsha Fuller
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magic, religious turmoil, family inheritance, love and hate are all given a role in this "Can't put it down" book! Adventurous and thrilling!
M.A. Kropp
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
The Woodbridge family are worshippers of the Mother, an old faith that has been supplanted by the Children of the Light. The followers of the old faith are endowed with various talents which enable them to influence the actions of others, seem invisible, or manipulate physical objects, among others. The Children denounce these talents as witchcraft and persecute those of the old faith as heretics. Rollo Woodbridge, the eldest, went to a neighboring country to study his craft, as he has been gift ...more
I've been reading Dave Duncan for a long time now - since A Man of His Word's first book (Magic Casement), at least. I've read a lot his books, and enjoyed most of them (The Alchemist's Apprentice was an exception that I found dull). Mostly, Duncan specializes in the very real feeling, likeable young hero. His characters may have special skills, but they act like you think you might, not like demi-gods.

So, a new book by Dave Duncan is a thing to look forward to, and I downloaded Against the Ligh
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I have seen books by Dave Duncan before but Against the Light is the first book of his I have read. I got Against the Light from Amazon Vine.

Plot: There is much more to the plot than you see in the above description. There is religion vs. politics. Not everyone is who he or she seems. There are twist and turns, actions that seem right but only make thing worse, characters who act without thought and just when things look like they will work out everything falls apart. This is the first book in
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mostly enjoyed this book; it has pretty well thought out characters, an interesting and somewhat complex world, and a story that's reasonably entertaining.

The three siblings are pretty obviously acting as stand-ins for a certain moral stance, with Rollo being on the extreme side of goodness and forgiveness, Maddy being good yet driven by revenge, and Bram being completely driven by revenge. I think that Duncan missed an opportunity with Bram to create more contention between him and his sibli
At the start of this novel, as worshippers of the Mother hide their magical skills from the Church, a reader might be reminded of America’s Salem and witch trials. But the countryside feels more like England at the time of the Reformation, religious allies across the water and shifting schemes of politics. While firmly grounded in fantasy, this story evokes a very real era and issues as relevant today as they were then. The blessings of gifts, supernatural or otherwise can be easily misused, and ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I found this book in the cheap Kindle section of Amazon, and it was highly rated, so I decided to check it out. I thought this book was quite compelling as it did not fall easily into the usual fantasy cliches. Rather, as I found out at the end, it is based on the religious struggles in England in the 1500-1600's. In this book, there are two major world religions, one of which led a uprising against the other several hundred years before the book. The other, worshiping the Mother, went undergrou ...more
Anne Monteith
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am glad that I kept on reading this book instead of giving up after the first few chapters as it developed into a book that was very enjoyable. It is another story that could easily have taken place many times in history, people fighting and killing each other in the name of religion. There are two different religions in this novel, the old religion of the Mother and the new one of the Light. After the God's War, the Light is in control and those practicing the old religion are persecuted. The ...more
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued to see what this novel would be like since it is published by Amazon’s own fledgling imprint, 47North. However, the author, Dave Duncan, is an established writer of fantasy and science fiction and has produced over forty titles with conventional publishers.

Against The Light is a compelling fantasy set in a country called Albi in which members of a forbidden matriarchal religion, whose adherents are sometimes blessed with magical talents, are persecuted by a hierarchical, patriarc
John Eich
Last half of the book - 4 stars. First half - 2. Obscenely cliched theme--sensitive, good, earth-loving Mother-worshipers being cruelly oppressed by a patriarchal, corrupt and cruel, male-dominated Father-Sky worshiping church in political power--I mean, seriously?? The magic theory is weak and just sort of happens to fit the plot needs.

But...great characters. Really lifelike, with subtle traits that make them stand distinct to each other, and personalities that almost vie for the reader's trust
Becky Stone
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-a-fan
Dave Duncan has written some splendid novels. This is not one of them.

The characters are flat incarnations of cliches and plot is no better (hate-mongering new church persecuting followers of old, Goddess-centered, magical faith). The daughter is beautiful, the sons are brave, and the evil characters are irredeemable. None of the characters, good or evil, are individual or dynamic enough to be endearing. I finished this book less than 10 minutes ago and I'd be hard-pressed to tell you even one o
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up for free with Amazon's Kindle lending program for Prime customers. Figured I'd give it a shot. It passed the first page test and the price was right...

Not bad. Bad bad guys that really needed to get theirs. Good guys that weren't entirely pure (I love that). A kid who gets caught up in the cycle of revenge and ends up kicking off a war.

The premise is that there's a Theocracy that has worked to oppress a minority of the population. This minority has magical "gifts" that the theoc
I was a little trepidatious when I ordered this book, but I thought that maybe the worst it could be was stupid... I was pleasantly surprised. The plot isn't original, but the writing is so smooth and there are different threads for each Woodbridge child and there's actually a lot of tension and action, I found that though it's not going to be a classic, it's difficult to put down. The plot is that it's basically a Taliban-ish religion with a Jihad against the older 'pagan' religion, not really ...more
Douglas Cook
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

First paragraphs

SILAS DID NOT sleep at all the night before. It was neither care nor worry that kept him wide-eyed, staring into the dark. He had nothing to fear, for he was a diligent priest, serving the Light as well as he was able. His faith was strong; he had every confidence that his brief term of service in this world would be followed by life everlasting in the loving arms of his Heavenly Father. No, it was joy and anticipation that roiled in Silas Fage’s mind during those long hours. Jus
The story was very similar to the other set of books I read by this guy, with less character development (which was bad) but less of the blech/yucky stuff that I didn't like about the other books (which was good). So overall, it averaged to about the same on my like-o-meter. I'm rather curious now to read a third book/set of books from Mr. Duncan to see if it's a similar group of siblings separated vs. crazy religious and/or government people since that's been the basic set up of both I've read ...more
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Dave Duncan has written several of my favorite books over the years--the Man of his Word Quartet followed by A Handful of Men are some of the best eight books I have ever read. The Kinds Blades series are all worth a read, especially the first three which are worth a re-read. And this may be the beginning of another solid series.

Set in a pseudo-England during a time of religious conflict, one upstart religion is trying to squelch an older one. For the moment, the new religion, the Children of t
Matt Bradley
I enjoyed this book. It was odd - almost like it was written by two different authors. It started out reading like a juvenile fiction but then all of a sudden it got darker and there was some language that seemed out of place. It kept me entertained and interested, though.

The ending is fairly disappointing since it really just stops in the middle of the story. I'm not even sure if there is a sequel planned or written, but it definitely did not have an ending.

Very odd book, I must say.

Sean Randall
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I often open a Duncan work wondering just how deeply I'm going to get entrenched in another beautifully-crafted world. This one was as rich as many, though somehow it didn't feel as long a read as something comparable (Such as a few of the Pandemia works). Still, for all that it had a lot of depth to it, and the characters and their circumstances are painted with the usual skill we come to expect from such a Fantasy Master.

The one thing that stuck in my mind about Against the Light was the way t
Caley Ann (Katie)
My first introduction to Dave Duncan's work, I really enjoyed Against the Light. Strongest point: vivid characters and compelling action. Weakest point: the story seemed to conclude mid-story. I will have to see if there is a sequel or continuation of this novel, which would explain the abrupt and unfinished ending. If there is not a subsequent novel, then I would have to say that the conclusion was disappointing. I do not mind an ending that leaves open what the future might hold for the charac ...more
Steve Markham
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not normally my cup of tea but as it was reccomended to me I thought I would give it a try and I was not disapointed by my friend with this book.

The fantacy world is only explained to you the reader when necessaryso you can stay with the flow of the book and don't have to remember this or that which might distract or detract from the book or plot which in this books case would be a shame.

The characters are wonderfully full and alive with their feelings, fears, history etc all open to the
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt that although the first half was akwardly slow, the second half grasped my attention and did not let go. My only regret was not being more sympathetic to the family before the real story began. I understand that fantasy has a lot of elements and themes that are duplicated from other works. I like that in this story it did include those elements and themes, but there was a touch of history interplayed. I like that I spent the entire book wondering if all would be resolved in one book or if ...more
Nadine Smith
Jun 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I found this book offensive. The use of the f. and the sexual descriptions totally soured me on this book and I just could not finish the book. I was disappointed in the main characters who I liked to begin with but who let the evil they were fighting against into their own lives. Sorry but I can not commend this book to anyone. Too bad because the basic story line was interesting and kept me reading longer than I normally would have.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a competent book, though its mythos was not well explained at the beginning, and a bit difficult to puzzle out at times. It was an interesting bit of fantasy that seems like it is going somewhere in a series. I'm not sure I'll continue on with it, since this one was free, and I'm sure the later ones are not, but it was a fairly enjoyable romp, though with some rather uncomfortable scenes, at times.
A not bad fantasy read, though given the call out reference to the "Gunpowder Plot" I have a feeling that others more knowledgeable would find it derivative. But it was an enjoyable good read. This is a world with a hidden religion with various psychic powers versus the corrupt established religion. Yet the plot moved along and the characters were interesting. The system of magic was interesting if not as intricate as I prefer. A good read though. 3.5 of 5.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I've read by Dave Duncan, and I enjoyed it. He doesn't spend a lot of time explaining the way things work in the world, he just shows the reader what they need to know a little at a time. The characters were believable, for the most part, and the political setup was intriguing. I found that I identified much more with Maddie than with the male characters, which is unusual with a male author.
It's a good, easy read.
Feb 14, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A well regarded and prolific author; plot holes abound, writing seems somewhat stilted by modern standards and frankly, I failed to develop enough affinity to finish this book. Perhaps, the writer should slow down and redirect his energies to produce quality not quantity. Disappointing. On the plus side the work is definitely well proofed.
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An enjoyable book but lacking some of the depth I have come to expect from Duncan. the world is interesting and the magical powers, more psychic than spells, were varied and we'll used in the context of the story.

The characters were not terribly fleshed out and the book, as a result, felt more like a snack than a meal.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2013, kindle
Pretty decent Duncan book. If you've read many books by Duncan, you know they vary in quality. This is one of his middling ones. It was a fun, engaging read, but kinda fizzled out towards the end, like Duncan was in a rush to get finished, or perhaps didn't have any strong editor helping out. Still, I enjoyed it overall.
A well-done but fairly standard fantasy, refreshed by some clear references to historical events in our own world (I won't go into details on that, as it would be a spoiler).

The heroes are the scattered survivors of an aristocratic family, adherents of an out-of-favour religion repressed by the dominant followers of another god. Magical talents and animal companions help them on their way.
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