DiscoverHistorical Fiction

The Saracen Storm

By

Worth reading 😎

Too long, too wordy, and too cheesily romantic for me, but the author has potential.

I'm a sucker for historical novels, and the more exotic and distant the setting, the better I like it. So I picked up The Saracen Storm with high hopes. The problem, for me, came in the first few chapters. I began to notice that there were too many adjectives, a common problem with novels that aren't professionally edited (and with some that are).


Well, I thought, never mind, it's an interesting start. And it was. Pelayo, the illegitimate son of the Duke, has to somehow fit in with his (slightly) evil stepmother and haughty half-brother, and carve out some sort of role for himself (in an era which would have strongly favoured the heir). Having just come from re-reading Game of Thrones, I couldn't help comparing the treatment of Pelayo's illegitimacy and his family relationships in both books. Nunez's stepmother has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and Pelayo seems extremely confident, even relaxed, for someone who's just been ripped untimely from his modest home and thrust into a household where he's automatically a thorn in everyone's side. In short, I felt that Nunez's characterisations could have been deeper, less black and white, more nuanced.


So I delved some more into the book, and found myself getting lost in the sheer detail. Detail is good, when it's woven seamlessly into the plot, and I have a lot of respect for the effort Nunez has gone to, to immerse us in the historical detail of the period. Unfortunately, though, I felt like I was wading through detail to get to the good bits. Perhaps there just wasn't enough movement to keep my attention. I would have enjoyed it more if Nunez had incorporated the historical context into the action to a greater extent; instead it sat there rather awkwardly, like editor's notes in Shakespeare.


I won't say what happens in the end, but I have to say, it struck me as a bit like that 'da da' moment in an opera, when you realise that Rudolfo is really the secret great-uncle of...you know how it goes. Nunez is writing a serious book of historical fiction, not a melodrama, and the plot should reflect that. More realism, less drama.


On the positive side, the book had a wide sweep to it, which I liked. If the author put more effort into deepening his characters, integrating his world and cutting out superfluous adjectives, I feel that he could produce a fine book.

Reviewed by

I'm an author but I also read a lot. I do especially like to read books by high quality indie authors, because you often get original and unconventional work which wouldn't have been picked up by the major publishers.

Prologue

About the author

After years of running a software development company, Nunez turned his hand to writing. One day while traveling in northern Spain he came across a statue of an ancient warlord called Pelayo. The novel, The Saracen Storm, is the result of that chance encounter. view profile

Published on January 15, 2020

Published by

140000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Reviewed by