Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tough Guy: Circle of Enemies

Circle of EnemiesHarry J Connolly's Twenty Palaces books are among the most interesting urban fantasy ideas on the market today.  The protagonist, Ray Lilly, is an ex-con forced into a world of magic and danger, working for people who despise him but who try to stop magicians from destroying the world.  Ray has slowly been learning about his employers, becoming more and more uncomfortable with their ruthlessness even as he sees the horrible dangers they battle.

In the third book, Circle of Enemies, Ray goes back to the friends he had before his life changed so drastically, before he met a magician, before he went to prison.  At the same time, he goes farther into the Twenty Palaces organization and directly confronts the policies and people that seem almost as awful as the alternative.  Almost.  Connolly presents it all through the eyes of Ray, who doesn't try to conceal things but also doesn't always like to examine himself too closely, who doesn't seem to respect himself even as he refuses to let himself give up on anything or anyone.  It's a gripping combination of characters and situation, and finishing the last book makes me want to start the series all over again.  Good work, and keep writing.

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