I loved this book. Throughout his previous books, I believe David has been experimenting with the idea of possessed people, or those driven by need, desire or other overwhelming emotions; we also have the example of Druss’ axe, which appears to be demon possessed.
With one of the main characters of this book, Tarantio, David takes the concept another step further, plays the idea out a little deeper. We learn about Tarantio, and the demon within him, Dace. Throughout the book, Tarantio talks to Dace, and Dace comes alive inside him to fight when danger threatens. We are never really given a clear explanation about the demon Dace, is he real, is he simply something created by Tarantio earlier in his life, is it illusion or reality.
The by-play between the two personalities is gripping and good reading, and to be honest, for me, the underlying story in the book came second. Which isn’t to say it’s a bad story, it had all the right elements, the bad guys, the good guys, heroes and heroines, lost worlds and civilisations. But for me, Tarantio and Dace were what this book was about. The darkness inside all of us. That which keeps us alive in those moments we live by our instincts. In Tarantio, his instincts would appear to be alive and well, and called Dace.
(This review was written sometime in the late 90’s for the original Gemmell Mania website)