The Raven's Head
By Karen Maitland
Published by Headline (12 March 2015)
Vincent is an apprentice librarian who stumbles upon a secret powerful enough to destroy his master. With the foolish arrogance of youth, he attempts blackmail but the attempt fails and Vincent finds himself on the run and in possession of an intricately carved silver raven's head.
Any attempt to sell the head fails… until Vincent tries to palm it off on the intimidating Lord Sylvain - unbeknown to Vincent, a powerful Alchemist with an all-consuming quest. Once more, Vincent's life is in danger because Sylvain and his neighbours, the menacing White Canons, consider him a predestined sacrifice in their shocking experiment.
The Raven's Head is an enjoyable gothic tale, a Medieval mystery with the science of alchemy at its heart. This dark, gritty historical novel is well written and, after a slow start to introduce all the characters, soon reaches a fast pace.
The author has carefully weaved several tales together - the stories of three main characters, Vincent, Gisa and Wilky, whose fates seemed to be inextricably linked. All three tales are filled with treachery, darkness, danger and cruelty, and eventually collide in an explosive ending.
I really like the author's writing style - it's engaging and easy to read. I felt that this particular book was story-led rather than character-led, as I found it hard to warm to any of the characters. But the supernatural and intrigue kept me reading until the final page.
This is my first Karen Maitland novel and I look forward to reading more of her books.
I received a copy from the publisher through Bookbridgr in exchange for an honest review.