Iron William and the Carpenter's Tears by Michael Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Great plot, well-researched, and above all, fun to read!
Iron William Kidd is a former secret agent for the English King Henry. After falling out of favor, he finds himself opposite a former colleague, Hamilton Rush. When the two collide, the results are disastrous for both, though Kidd seems to get the worst of it. He nearly loses his hands, but his friend Vllen, one of the innovative minds of the budding renaissance, devises a pair of metal gauntlets that fuse with his maimed flesh.
Not only must Kidd cope with his less than agile replacement hands, but also a nearly impossible quest. With nothing more than a snippet of text hinting at the missing relic's existence and the threat of the Church's retribution should he fail, Kidd is faced with the ultimate cold case file, and he's not the only one after the prize.
First of all, bravo on the research. The story is set in the renaissance, where science and innovation are just starting to take off. The locations, the empires, and the way of life are depicted realistically, as are the biblical references (and scenes). In fact, I found the lost history of the Tears to be the most fascinating aspect of the story. Never too much at once, the details are brought to life as Kidd discovers them, sometimes by chance, other times by deduction.
The plot is solid, and everything that happens in the story, happens for a reason, and the story moves forward in a natural progression that draws one to the next page, the next chapter and right into the wee hours of the morning. One of the things I enjoyed is that the story mixes epic quest with historical mystery. Add in the action and the likable characters and it makes for a fun and exciting read. I'm not often able to link a book to a similar book or movie, but in this case, the Indiana Jones movies seem to be a good match.
As for flaws, there were few. I noticed a few typos here and there, but they are infrequent and didn't distract me from the story. Also, the part where Kidd is in training seems a bit rushed in places and slow in others. Although both the stump exercise and the snake test are tied in with the story later on, I'm not exactly sure what Kidd was supposed to learn from them.
Overall, Iron William and the Carpenter's Tears has a fantastic story line, interesting characters and solid details. I most definitely plan to read this book again and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical action/adventure with a powerful relic thrown in the mix, secret societies bent on protecting it and powerful villains out to exploit it. Those who love watching (and perhaps re-watching) the Indiana Jones movies will likely enjoy this book for the same reasons.
I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest, non-reciprocal review.
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