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Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North

Publication Date 20.07.21

Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age - a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven's world, such material must be closely guarded, so that the ills that led to that cataclysmic era can never be repeated.

But when the revolutionary Brotherhood approaches Ven, pressuring him to translate stolen writings that threaten everything he once held dear, his life will be turned upside down. Torn between friendship and faith, Ven must decide how far he's willing to go to save this new world, and how much he is willing to lose.

Four Star Review

Glorious writing make this dystopian spy novel a true delight to read. There are so many exquisite sentences and phrases in the narrative. All of which I have highlighted so that I my return to them on a second read.

The setting and world building is magnificent and I adored all the references to the world we know in the present, such as text messaging and twitter. Could we learn from our mistakes or repeat the patterns of old? This is an imaginative, visionary tale of a future that may lie ahead of us due to our diet of overconsumption and waste. Part spy thriller and part whodunit it will keep you on the edge of your seat with its political intrigue and string of betrayals.

Ven is a wonderful character to journey with. He is so well crafted and his struggles feel so real. His relationship with Georg is tense and exciting. I was desperate to find out how all their power struggles unfolded. With two factions at war with each other a peaceful resolution was unclear and I wasn't sure how the novel would end.

The pacing is exciting and urgent yet there are points where the messages are thoughtful and poignant and you sit back and ponder on their meaning. It is especially reflective to see the two warring factors and their points of view. I wonder which camp you will resonate with? Should humans dominate the world? Or should we live more equally with nature?

Clare weaves fascinating and compelling subplots throughout this captivating tale. This added to the wonderful set of characters and a sincere emotional message results in a riveting read.

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