The hero of the novel is, no different, a killer for hire. Caim is considered a specialist in his profession – unscrupulous, discreet, not applauding and unobtrusive. He leads a calm, monotonous life, however it may sound in the context of his profession. Idyll, however, is not difficult to guess, does not last forever. Problems materialize on Caim’s path in the form of a young noblewoman, Josephine. However, it does not end there, because the bloody past that drove our hero on the path of vice also unexpectedly begins to have a lot to say.
Dear Josey and Caima cross each other against the will of both and, worse, do not think to separate. Thus, the couple goes through various stages of resentment, distrust, mutual dissatisfaction with their company to go to areas of warmer feelings, in the meantime experiencing adventures, skirmishes, kidnappings and clashes with the enigmatic Dark Forces.
The motivation that pushes the characters (surprisingly both positive and negative) to action is painfully repetitive – strangely enough, each of them murdered their family, so you have to take revenge. Unfortunately, this is not the only carbon paper you can come across in the book. Actually, it is difficult to find any motive that you don’t have the impression ‘but it was already’.
Caim is painfully stereotypical. Bad opinion about himself, the dark side allowing to wield Shadow powers and the fact of earning a living by killing people do not stop him from becoming a refuge of righteousness in a corrupt world, a real white knight. The situation is no better with Josey – from the insanely annoying glare, which dreams only of imminent marriage, imperceptibly turns into a hard art, which is not terrible jumping on the roofs and falling in love with murky types.
The above two, however, fall quite original against the background of the heroes representing the dark side. Caim’s pal who dreamed of power and stood in his shadow, but in fact pulling the strings of a hooded necromancer monk, who in turn was an errand boy of the Masters of Absolute Darkness … Well, you see how it sounds.
The political intrigue promised in the cover note does not save the situation at all. And what to expect from a conspiracy centered around the rulers of the monotheistic religion hierarchs whose prophet was crucified … uh … hanged? The source of inspiration for this thread is probably all too clear to every reader, and at the same time already exploited.
To all this naive jumble of worn patterns and obscene simplifications, let’s add the fact that the author leads his heroes like a string towards a goal shining on the horizon, without making the effort to give them the vicissitudes of authenticity and artificial, sometimes even silly dialogues. Because how else to name a situation in which one of the heroes living in this medieval-style, at the latest Renaissance times, asks about impressions about his new image? Sprunk even got confused about issues regarding the appearance of the main characters, which, for example, change hair color. And errors such as “dark red arterial blood”, which supposedly stained someone’s uniform, shout in a loud voice to vengeance.
“Son of the Shadow” is the literary debut of Jon Sprunk, so you can turn a blind eye to many things. However, it is impossible not to conclude that the author came out with a similar assumption and used them with impunity, constructing his novel on the principle of a puzzle, taken from what was already in literature (and not only here), and more than once. The book has a chance to appeal only to younger readers who have not yet come across many times the patterns that have been used in it, and so only in the form of a reader with a purely entertainment character.