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Quietus by Tristan Palmgren. Book review

March 6, 2018


It is the time when the Black Death swept across Europe, and the population, decimated by its effects and unable to understand the science of how it spread, thought the world was coming to an end.

Into this tumultuous time comes Habidah and her team of scientists, closely observing the population in an effort to find a solution to the onierophage, a similar plague affecting the population of her own world made up of a vast network of political alliances of ruling races.

Although I was aware from the start that Habidah was someone not native to Niccolucio’s world, I experienced all the sights, filth and smells of this historic world through her. Niccolucio’s viewpoint only cemented this effect, leaving me with the impression that were the author to write only historical novels I would be an avid fan. But that Palmgren managed to effortlessly shift from fantastical technology and a sense of space opera to an authentic sense of time of the fourteenth century Plague and then bring them together, really immersed me in the story.

Out of all the people Tristan Palmgren could have chosen from the Middle Ages to be yanked to safety by someone from a mind-blowing technologically advanced race, Niccolucio, is just perfect. His self-doubt and humility, but at the same time open-mindedness and unbiased approach to the world, makes him a wonderful foil for Habidah’s constant moral questioning.

The plot is complex, with no end of scheming and wondering where alliances truly lie between the servants of the ruling alliances and the vast alliances themselves. This was certainly the part of the book where you had to pay attention because of the complexity of the associations and interactions.

Throughout it all are the constants of Habidah and Niccolucio in their developing and very special relationship in the face of Habidah wondering who she can trust.

Palmgren demonstrates remarkable poise for a debut novelist with regards to the depth of world building and character development in a cleverly conceived plot, making him a writer to watch in the future.

Quietus was courtesy of Angry Robot via NetGalley.

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