Penguin, $40, pbk
I can't help thinking that T. K. Roxborogh might be New Zealand's answer to J. K. Rowling.
It's not just the ambiguous initials rather than first name, but the fact that Blood Lines follows hot on the heels of Banquo's Son and one wonders if there are indeed another two or three in the pipeline.
And like Rowling, Roxborogh writes a cracking adventure.
The Blood Lines story proper starts with Fleance, King of Scotland, all set to marry the lovely Rachel, a marriage designed to secure the bloodline rather than for love, for the young king's thoughts and emotions are very much with Rosie, whom we met in Banquo's Son.
Things take a twist when Rachel is abducted, and from thereon in Roxborogh pushes the narrative on apace - so much so that at the end of each chapter I was bursting for the next.
She switches point of view seamlessly. There is an assortment of characters that we care about, and three witches are dropped into the brew for good measure.
Roxborogh has a fine descriptive eye for the less savoury aspects of medieval life and she pulls no punches when portraying the stenches, discomforts and brutalities.
If I have one quibble it is with some of the dialogue.
Roxborogh says she aims to replicate "the vocabulary that was in use during Shakespeare's era", but to my ear there were some much more modern turns of phrase that jarred. But it is only a quibble.
If you liked Banquo's Son you'll love Blood Lines.
- Julia Brannigan is an Auckland writer and marketing consultant
This review appeared in the Otago Daily Times, 9th of October.
Waahh about the jarring. Not going to let that happen in the final (but, hang on, heh heh, will it be a final...) book
PS just so you know: I read every single one of the Harry Potter books and have seen ALL the films and I think Rowling is one of the most cleverest people on earth - Tolken without the verbage.