Synopsis ~ It’s 2015, and Camelot and Sherwood are at war. The Circle, the UK paramilitary agency whose Knights carry the devices of the members of King Arthur’s Round Table, is hunting the Green Chapel, eco-activists allied to Robin Hood’s Merry Men. For the Knights, this quest is personal as well as political: the Chapel’s leader, Jory Taylor, is himself an errant Knight and he has stolen the Holy Grail from the British Museum. Britain is now in danger of being torn apart as the enmity between it’s greatest heroes explodes and they go to war with each other.
This is the second book in The Devices trilogy and if you haven’t read the first, The Pendragon Protocol, I highly recommend you do so. This isn’t the type of story that you can jump in midway without getting completely lost. It picks up exactly where it’s predecessor left off, with Jory estranged from his former friends and allies of The Circle. In a world where friends and foes are continually changing it’s difficult to ascertain who is trustworthy and who is not. Someone who’s your steadfast ally one day, may be your bitter enemy the next. One thing that holds true throughout both books is Jory’s determination to do the right thing. He makes many mistakes along the way which saves him from being too perfect, but he never gives up. Jory is the type of character you love, but at the same time want to take by the shoulders and shake. Throughout the first book, and a good portion of this one, he can be a little too single-minded. He set’s out on a particular course and doesn’t always see the possible ramifications of his actions, which results in some pretty disastrous situations. By the end of The Locksley Exploit however, he finally comes into his own and embraces his true destiny. It’s difficult to get close to characters, as no one is safe. There are several characters I’d grown fond of to which I had to bid adieu. Likewise, many characters have hidden agendas, so it’s hard to know who to trust. This just adds to the excitement.
The story is once again told primarily by Allan A Dale, aka, Dale the Tale with a mix of first and third person narrative. This time though you see many more things from his point of view, which while I didn’t agree with all of the time, still proved interesting. As the modern day story unfolds, you’re also taken back in time to the original legends and true historical events from which both The Circle and Green Chapel base their actions on. This adds even more layers to an already complex story without ever slowing things down. While there aren’t as many humorous moments as there were in the first, this book features some laugh-out-loud passages, such as the one depicting Burns, who is getting ready to be the modern day Merlin, preparing by watching a marathon of BBC’s Merlin. His wry observations of himself and his cohorts are truly amusing.
The ending is not completely surpising, but it’s extremely climatic, with Jory once again thrust into an unfamiliar role, this time with the fate of an entire country resting on his shoulders. I’m not even going to hazard a guess as to how the final story, The Trojans, will play out. I definitely will be there though for what will undoubtedly be another exciting ride!