I was lucky to get a paperback ARC of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire in exchange for an honest review from Angry Robot, and especially Gemma. Thank you for the opportunity!
|Series: –||Genre: Fantasy, Adventure|
|Date of Publishing: September 8th 2020||Publisher: Angry Robot|
An ex-Spitfire pilot is dragged into a race against a shadowy government agency to unlock the secrets of the lost empire of Atlantis…
In post-war 1952, the good guys are supposed to have won. But not everything is as it seems when ex-Spitfire pilot Captain Samantha Moxley is dragged into a fight against the shadowy US government agency she used to work for. Now, with former Nazis and otherworldly monsters on her trail, Captain Moxley is forced into protecting her archaeologist sister in a race to retrieve two ancient keys that will unlock the secrets of a long-lost empire – to ensure a civilisation-destroying weapon doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. But what will she have to sacrifice to save the world?
“It felt like those in the west had a talent for skipping straight out of one war and into another, as though they had a lust for it, while the locals would be left to clean it up when they had gone. More and more, the glorious ideas of “Empire” were revealed to be nothing more than fancy dressing when you saw the realities of those who came to suffer beneath its polished boots, blinkered ambition, and secret agendas.”
Huh, picking a song for Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire was not easy. Eventually, I picked My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark by Fall Out Boy because it’s just going well with the adrenaline pumping pace of the book.
I’ve been hesitating whether to request a copy of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire when it was brought to my attention. Partly because I really shouldn’t have added more to my TBR, but also because Adventure Fantasy is really a hit or miss for me. It was compared to Indiana Jones by several people and I honestly couldn’t care less about that series. Even so, I was intrigued and thought why not give it a go?
Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire is set in 1952. We are years after World War II ended, but not as far away from it so people wouldn’t still remember it. Samantha Moxley definitely has livid memories as she served a pilot in the Army. After which she joined an organization called The Nine, ran by the American government. But even though she’d rather leave that all behind her, the past comes knocking. Unwillingly, she is being dragged into a race for an artifact that can give power to its owner.
This book is packed with action from cover to cover. There is hardly any time for us to catch our breath as the characters chase each other through New York, Paris, and Egypt. Visiting iconic places such as the Notre Dame or the Sphinx, giving the events a perfect background. The plot itself is not overly complicated, but the stakes remain high and the execution makes the book pretty damn entertaining. I think one of my favorite scenes was the underground river chase. That was awesome.
As for the characters, I liked Sam. She is one tough lady. And loyal to a fault. Which leads her to trouble. Her only goal is to keep her sister, Jess alive, even though their opinions and views are totally different.
“How could Jess know the torment that drove Sam? Knowing how good people in conflict often ended up dying horrible deaths, cold and alone. That sometimes doing the heroic thing did not always end up as gloriously as the stories made out.”
And that’s also where my troubles started with Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire: I just couldn’t stand Jess. Along with her boyfriend, the museum curator Will, though he redeemed himself in my eyes toward the end. I don’t even know if I was supposed to like Jess or not, but I definitely would have done without her. Agent Taylor on the other hand, now he is an interesting puzzle. Despite being brainwashed by the government he still has some resemblance to conscience. But I still couldn’t bring myself to like him as he stands for views I wouldn’t stand for. His message is something like “everyone should be equal and there should be peace as long as America dictates the rules” and that every time boiled my blood. He definitely was a great addition along with Agent Smith the ex-Nazi and the clearly evil character.
“She had figured the war was over when the Allies had won. That the warped fascist ideology would bleed away into the gutters, never to be seen again. Yet it seemed its followers had simply scarpered like rats from torchlight, finding new dark corners in which to continue breeding their hatred of everything good.”
I like it when the lines between good and evil are blurred and it’s hard to decide who is on which side. This book embodies that. Even if it doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre.
Overall, I really enjoyed Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire. If you like adventure fantasy and Indiana Jones then you definitely will love this adrenaline-filled book. Dan Hanks can be an exciting new name in Fantasy in the coming years.