A personal epic poem, the stakes are high in Virtue’s End – Horus must save the land of imagination from the vile beasts that desire to destroy it.
Inspired by Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, it’s no surprise that the poet appears within this tome, and several other writers of great fame too, including Mary Shelley and JRR Tolkien.
Some of Horus’s trials are deeply personal, raw and real. At times they are symbolic and shrouded in metaphor. At all times they are engaging and draw the reader in. Don’t be put off by this book being an epic poem! It is easy to read and hard to put down.
I would warn readers that while this is a fantasy, and an epic poem, it ventures into dark realms and doesn’t shy away from the cruder aspects of life.
However, there is no wallowing in depravity. Even though Horus and his companions must face some sick and twisted monsters, the focus is very much on the virtues and combatting decay in all its forms. One of the characters is the literal embodiment of hope!
I think readers will find it easy to relate to Horus’s tribulations, as they mirror the suffering we all must navigate in life.
The many literary allusions are a fun aspect to the story, and I loved the verbal sparing between Spenser and Tolkien.
Sale’s best work to date, I look forward to rereading Virtue’s End for many years to come.
I award Virtue’s End…