Themes: / witchcraft / mongoliad /
A severed head and a cry of “Witchcraft!” start a frenzied witch hunt in a sleepy German village. When Konrad von Marburg, a Church inquisitor, arrives on the scene, innocent and guilty alike find themselves subject to the inquisitor’s violent form of purification. Two knights of the Ordo Militum Vindicis Intactae, Andreas and Raphael, soon arrive in the village. Though each journeys on a separate path, they quickly band together to confront the inquisitor as he whips the townspeople into a righteous bloodlust. When her dead husband’s severed head appears on her doorstep, a local woman is charged with practicing heretical rituals. It is up to the knights to discover the truth behind the brutal murder before the torches are lit and the woman is burned at the stake. Their task proves daunting, though, as the townspeople have their own long-buried secrets and sins that they want to keep hidden — even if it means allowing the sacrifice of an innocent woman. With Sinner: A Prequel to the Mongoliad, Mark Teppo forges the first link in a chain that leads to the world-shattering events of the Mongoliad series.
I got this book as a part of my copy of the audiobook of The Mongoliad: Book One. I haven’t yet read The Mongoliad: Book One; I decided that I wanted to read the prequel first. I have one or two other prequel stories, which I think I’ll wait to read until after I’ve read The Mongoliad: Book One and The Mongoliad: Book Two and possibly The Mongoliad: Book Three. The reason I read this one before the others was that I happened to have it on my iPhone in that order. I don’t think anything was lost by reading it before the main books…I just want to see what the main books offer before going into the shorter-story prequels.
The story itself introduced two characters who I believe play a role in The Mongoliad: Book One, Raphael and Andreas, two knights who meet by happenstance in a small town at a time when the town has suffered a tragedy. Otto, the husband of Goetta, was murdered, and Goetta stands accused for the crime. To make matters worse, an Inquisitor of the Roman Catholic Church is also passing through the town and he decides to personally adjudicate the matter. Raphael is an older knight, mostly wiser, and has a history with this Inquisitor. Andreas is younger, brasher, quicker to jump in…and that’s where I’ll leave the description, without spoiling anything.
The story was light and I’m guessing sets the stage for events in The Mongoliad: Book One. I suspect readers will learn more about the Inquisitor (named Conrad) in that book, and of course about Raphael and Andreas. One hopes that Raphael will be able to teach young Andreas a bit of his worldly wisdom. And I expect that Andreas will be able to help Raphael recover…or possibly seek revenge, from issues in his past. The story here really set up these characters, wrapped around an otherwise predictable plot.
There’s nothing wrong with predictability, especially when interesting and intriguing characters are introduced. It’s even better when the story isn’t drawn out; it didn’t need to be any longer. This story whet my appetite for the main tome and now I’d like to see what else is in store for these guys.
Luke Daniels is a prolific audiobook narrator, with good reason. His narration for this story, as with so many of the stories he’s done, is spot-on. He adds life to the characters without distracting from the story. If I had one minor complaint, it’s that it was sometimes hard to understand what he was saying when he was using Raphael’s voice. He played the character with a heavy accent, which was sometimes hard to hear while driving down the road. The best way to listen to this type of book is to lay back and relax, put the earbuds in, and just listen. Daniels will take you to another place entirely…in this case, 13th century Europe. I’m looking forward to my next trip there with him in The Mongoliad: Book One.
Review by terpkristin.