Thursday, December 29, 2016


by Daniel O'Malley
583 pgs  (The Checquy series #2)

I had been eagerly waiting for Daniel O'Malleys follow-up to The Rook ever since reading it almost five years ago. His Brotherhood of the Checquy--England's secret government organization consisting of humans with supernatural abilities who protect the general populace from the supernatural--is a highly-entertaining creation, with the potential to be the basis for a long series of books.

At the end of The Rook, the Checquy was offered an alliance with the Grafters, their enemies for over three hundred years. The Grafters--an equally-entertaining creation of O'Malley's--is an organization consisting of alchemists who developed fantastical modifications for the human body, and surgically performed those modifications on each other in order to give them powers and abilities that a brief description of which by me wouldn't do justice.

As Stiletto begins, the Grafters send a delegation to the headquarters of the Checquy in London to work out the details of the proposed alliance. But the Grafters haven't been entirely open with the Checquy. They haven't informed them that a splinter-group calling themselves the Antagonists strongly opposes the alliance, and have already proven their willingness to use terrorist tactics in order to derail the process. The Antagonists have followed the Grafters to London and are laying the groundwork for their plans to ensure that animosity between the Checquy and Grafters continues for centuries to come.

When Rook Myfany Thomas, who strongly supports the alliance, learns of the existence of the Antagonists and their plans, she knows she may be the only one with the ability to stop them and allow the process to succeed. What proceeds is an action-packed story best described as a mashup between The X-Men and Men in Black.

O'Malley is an author that I'm very excited about. he only has two books published so far, but both of them demonstrate that he's an author worth checking out. His characters are well-developed and his stories are complex, fun, and entertaining. My only criticism is the nearly-five-year wait for book two. Everyone needs to buy both his books and give him the ability financially to quit his day job working for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and write full time. I can't imagine he'd like to continue working there a day longer than he has to. Here's hoping those days are numbered and he's able to focus solely on writing soon. Selfish of me, I know, but I'm pretty sure it's a win-win situation for everyone involved.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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