A reimagining of the “Gunpowder Plot” with religious persecution against those with magical powers.
Against the Light moved at a brisk pace, not wasting much time in getting characters from one place to another. I really liked the relatively contemporary setting, with English manor living and firearms, instead of the usual feudalism of epic fantasy. And there was a bawdiness in the telling that made the whole thing feel fresh and cheerful, even amid the darker elements of the story.
Basically you have an official state church, which follows the “Light,” pitted against the Children of the Mother, branded heretics because they celebrate special powers granted to some, not all, like “inspiration” and “mastery.” The story follows gifted siblings from a persecuted family who all take different paths in their quest to avenge their parents’ murder and the loss of their ancestral home. The various political forces converge and threaten to ignite the whole country.
I am pretty sure Dave Duncan means to write more books in this world, and I hope he does! This is a great entry from one of my favorite authors.