Trojans by Philip Purser-Hallard (Book Three of The Devices Trilogy) Snowbooks, October 2016

320pp £7.99
Reviewed by Adrian Middleton

The title jars in comparison to the first two volumes – The Pendragon Principle and The Locksley Exploit. Would a Camelot riff really have given too much away? This bugged me a little more at first than perhaps it should – probably because it just doesn’t look right on the shelf. But books aren’t about aesthetics, and the judging really is in the reading, and this is the best of the three. 

   Picking up seven years after he ended a War between the secret Camelot (The Circle) and the rather more eco-anarchic Sherwood (The Green Chapel), Jory Taylor has become the living embodiment of the Pendragon Device (a sort of Jungian memeplex that defines him as The High King of Britain), Jordan, the One true king, ushering in a new age of art, culture and prosperity. Camelot has returned, offering us a completely different type of Brexit to the one everyone is worried about.

   Of course, the book’s length belies the brevity of the title, exploring the themes of Blake, Mallory, White and Moorcock, but as seen through the eyes of Torchwood characters. That may sound like a mash-up, but it isn’t, and the concept behind the ‘Devices’ is modern, unashamedly intelligent, with a good dose of wry wit whilst adding a twist that sets the trilogy apart from its comparators. For all of this the characters, and the dichotomy of knowing what they are yet being oblivious to the themes they represent, are what this book is about (previously I’d had a problem with ‘set-piece reenactments’ – less so here). Philip has hit his stride with this final volume, and I can only hope he gets to revisit the trilogy, perhaps as an audio drama series, or perhaps as a set of special hardback editions, where the first two volumes can be that hindsight sometimes affords.given the “author’s preferred polish”.

   While I shan’t spoiler the book, I will say that the while the ending worked, it wasn’t where I expected the book to go. That’s probably because I don’t quite share the author’s values. Or because I wanted more.

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