The Dissent of Annie Lang recounts the life of Annie, the youngest of the Lang family. Her background is religious to the point of being cult-like, and given the historical setting, her upbringing is stricter than most. Personal tragedies and a controlling environment shape her personality, but don’t break her spirit.
Emperor’s Sword is the story of Silus, a Roman scout. He makes a mistake he ends up regretting dearly, but it’s a mistake that kick starts a vast change, both for himself and the Roman Empire. The Caledonian clans band together to beat back the legions, with Maglorix, Silus’ sworn enemy, as their leader. This is a brutal, crude story, and rightfully so. I’m talking style here, style and accuracy: Gough doesn’t go for a watered-down version of the Romans and the Barbarians, but portrays the two factions in a realistic way. Emperor's Sword is a violent book; you won’t be spared any of the gritty details. I wasn’t expecting multiple POVS, as I was 100% happy with Silus’ one and I still believe that a single POV would have done Emperor’s Sword justice. However, Maglorix and Caracalla’s POVs help the reader understand the characters better. I’m not so fond of Maglorix per se, but his intelligence and his arrogance are showing. Speaking of Caracalla, he’s maybe the best character of the book. Smart, witty, interesting, I ended up rooting for him. Gough doesn’t pull any punches. His writing style is fast-paced for the most part, not dwelling into unnecessary parts. I’m always down for an author who’s able to tell a story without embellishments or descriptions. I hope to find the other parts of the series on NetGalley too, as I'd love to see what happens next.
The Second Life of Mirielle West is the story of a ‘20 socialite, Mirielle, who gets diagnosed with leprosy. Nowadays, this disease is treatable with antibiotics; back then, it still carried a huge social stigma, meaning that patients were just carted off to special hospitals. Mirielle ends up in one of them, a Louisiana military facility named Carville, away from her husband and her daughters. From then on, her life will never be the same.