You may remember that I started this trilogy last year. Your Brother’s Blood is an enigmatic read, economic, beautifully written, and highly engaging. Not to mention that it is unusual. As a zombie-western, it began this trilogy with such a jolt to the senses it was the perfect novel to read during finishing off my Master’s Dissertation. I have secretly been keeping this one for the right day and now almost six months after handing my Dissertation in I was finally ready to return to that world that I now associate with that point in my life.
Your Servants and your People, is quite an enigmatic read and for a long time I was very curious about the prologue. It is that little itch a novel can give you, “but please… you haven’t explained this yet… give me the big reveal…” Since starting Jordan’s Wheel of Time series I have become a big fan of the prologue that reveals some enigmatic element of the story that is only understood later on. This prologue reveal, strikes you off balance with wonderful tenacity.
Anyway. You may remember from Your Brother’s Blood that the narrative was saturated with religious doctrine and murderous acolytes, conflicting choices, families, and a lot of feelings. As all good sequels should have, there are echoes of Your Brother’s Blood, but this novel moves away from it enough any further beyond I do not think it would be as successful and too close and it would’ve been a very different novel.
In this instalment, our Walkin’ hero Thomas McDermott has a few different choices to make and all of them concern his family.
Seven years on, many things have changed. The Walkin’ are shown to be tolerated a little better but still discriminated against. They find work as labourers which is work that they excel at as they never tire, never need to eat, and never complain when the work would be hard for a living person. But Thomas McDermott is a Walkin’ who still has his very much alive family and wants to be left alone and to be able to ensure their survival and peace. They have been forced to move from place to place by fires and intolerances that seemed to have changed Sarah and their daughter Mary. Sarah is somehow harder, perhaps colder and Mary has grown up into a bitter teenager who dreams of fires, and doesn’t flinch when she is physically assaulted by strange men.
The novel opens with the family traveling with an escort, a group of soldiers heading to the remote outpost Fort Wilson. The unpopulated, harsh country is where the McDermott’s intend to survive far away from the prying eyes of society, hoping to finally be safe. Luckily for the McDermott’s they do not experience the horrors of the Bryn and the other soldiers at Fort Wilson. Bryn takes up the other half of the novel, finding himself avoiding death by chance and then witnessing his confused comrades waking from it. Bryn is a sweet character, though throughout the novel he seems at best disorientated and a little unfortunate. He experiences his comrades struggling with their new found identities, and seems to loose a little of his own along the way.
This novel has much less urgency and much more horror than it’s predecessor, Your Brother’s Blood thrives off of Thomas carrying his young daughter across the unforgiving waste while being pursued by those that would kill them both. But now the McDermott’s stake claim on a piece of land as a family and Thomas begins his unyielding work at building them a home. However, the pace lulls you into a false sense of security, it promises that the threats faced in the first novel are extinguished and gives you hope for the McDermott family. But this is all a rouse and slight of hand on Towsey’s part, letting him successfully drop bombshells on you while you are fumbling in the dark.
This novel is again wonderfully written, characters are strong and rich and there is no doubt about that they show more of their character through actions than the reader being told who they are. The ending of the novel leaves several strands open for the final part of the trilogy which I am eager to follow, although I am riddled with anxiety over what this novel will bring!
Your Servants and Your People plays it’s cards very close to the chest, but when they are laid down to be examined we see that this is a world where the unexpected happens and nobody is safe from it. This is a very good sequel and I again recommend this trilogy for it’s enigmatic narrative and the strength of it’s characters.