Knight Assassin: The Second Book of Talon
by James Boschert
Upon initially encountering James Boschert’s titular character in the first installment of his Talon series, we find a likeable Frankish boy abducted from his Levantine home to Persia, where he remains for five years as his captors assimilate him to their ways. The nature of memories and experience, mixture of perspectives and existence amongst unremitting danger is yet one portion of Talon’s story as he learns in the most honest way he can to cope with all he endures.
Assassins of Alamut leaves off with Talon being separated from the woman he loves as she is forced back into peril, and Knight Assassin picks up shortly after this as we witness Talon, en route to his ancestral homeland, still raw with the emotion of losing her and trying to stay on even terms with the Templars who took him into custody. At his father’s newly-inherited (via his wife) fortress in France he finds a family happy to see him, though bewildered about who he may have grown into and wary of threats against the family and their newly-acquired legacy.
This reviewer fairly flew through Knight Assassin. Having already bonded with Talon helped, naturally, but it is also true that Boschert’s plotlines are innovative and intriguing, and his ability to draw readers into scenes is magnificent. With authentic characters we journey through scenarios depicted in genuine fashion, such as Talon’s entire approach to his previous captors: they are enemies of his people, but he truthfully speaks of what he saw in their culture to admire.
For those attached to the Middle Ages, every page feeds the hunger as well as whets the appetite for more. There are feasts and feuds, love interests and family loyalties, clerical abuses of law and authority —elements one might expect, with much more added to Boschert’s creations. The author makes it more personal without an over focus to endanger the tale’s relatability. His dialogue gives us clearer portraits of those who populate his stories, and there is a satisfaction to the manner in which Talon lays down his plans and then carries out each mission. He holds enough back to keep us in suspense, divulging just the right amount to skip the minutiae while pumping up anticipation from the details we are privy to. We find ourselves Talon’s champion, even in moments of fearful doubt, breathing immense sighs of relief when he is in the clear.
That, however, doesn’t always happen, and Boschert knows exactly when to go in which direction. He also knows just who to add, and where they need to go, in Knight Assassin’s case, a group of Welsh archers, or a girl from a Catharic background, one not widely known or understood today. It stirs the sense of hunger, providing tantalizing details for further exploration of this saga that proves itself the very reason why humans crave stories. Fluid and addictive, meandering like a river through various locales, we wonder where the author might next take us in the series’ number three—and it can be assured we shall be journeying there.
For reviews of two more James Boschert reading treasures, click the titles below:
The author provided a copy of Knight Assassin in order to facilitate an honest review.