I enjoyed the original version of this book, Threads of Malice, when it first came out in 2005, as much as its prequel, Ghosts in the Snow. I’m enjoying it again this time around. I’m not confident of the benefit of slicing the books into sections, since none is really complete in itself, and it does interrupt the action. However, the prose and story remain strong.
In reading this time around, I’m a bit struck by the apparently conservative mores of the society – a man who preys on young boys seems to be seen as problematic as much because he’s gay as because he takes advantage of the vulnerable and under-age. I didn’t notice this last time around, and it’s possible I’m being to sensitive now, but it is a small irritant in an otherwise smooth (but dark) story.
The characters are again where the story shines, with the key actors complex and credible. The interactions of Lars, the young page, and the daughters of Dien, his superior and mentor, feel a little too easy, but generally, all characters are intriguing. The world around them is also interesting, and we get a little more of the backstory of epic battles of good and evil.
All in all, a good first installment of this book/series, and a strong part of the larger series.