Two More Reviews heard from
First, from ConNotations:
In the Lion's Mouth
by Michael Flynn
Tor Books, 2012, $25.99, 299 p
When's the last time you were smitten with a writer's word-smithing? Which authors have the power to transport you? Patricia McPhillip? Emma Bull? Steven Brust? Lois McMaster Bujold? Well, if you haven't already discovered Michael Flynn, get ready to add him to that list. Flynn is amazing. I haven't gotten this drunk on sheer words since I read Bone Dance. And the story is dam' good - no lack of action here.
Donovan, the scarred man, was on his way home - sort of - at least, he has a daughter he rather wants to see again, and maybe, just maybe his daughter's mother won't kill him on sight. Unhappily, he got abstracted by Ravn Olafsdottr, a Shadow agent, under orders to bring Donovan to a planet - not his destination - to assist in a little matter of rebellion and war.
Donovan, like Odysseus before him, is a man of many tricks. He is also, thanks to the Confederacy, a man literally of many minds. So he is remarkably resourceful - but how can you trust a man with a personality like a dodecahedron?
Ravn manages to survive Donovan's displeasure - one assassin can recognize another's repertoire - and has come to tell the women Donovan loves why Donovan himself never arrived. She spins out a tale of exceptional violence, triple-treacheries, and the strange loyalties that turn war's outcome. Embedded in her narrative is a challenge, one which Bridget ban, a Hound with the authority to summon and command other Hounds, must decide how to answer. But quietly listening all the while, and drawing her own conclusions, is Mearana, Donovan's daughter, and she has a mind very much her own.
In the Lion's Mouth is a sequel to The January Dancer and Up Jim River, and it is of course best to read them in order. However, it is possible to start a series midway and made very good going; so, do as you will.
This is space opera at its best: it ranges across galaxies; it involves empires, political intrigue, thwarted romance, and heroic deeds. In addition, Flynn, whose name suggests Irish ancestry, uses his bardic talent to emulate Homer in some passages, to ravish your soul in others, and to play most exquisitely the polyglot game. Characters frequently use languages as a kind of warfare or to test each other (when they aren't testing each other in more lethal ways). John M. Ford would have delighted in this. In fact, if you wish Ford had written sequels to Growing Up Weightless, you might consider this series the great-great, ever so great descendant, the distant future of that cryptic storyline. With more Gaelic. Flynn has the good grace to be prolific, with eleven-plus books published through Tor, so there is much, much more to enjoy of his imagination and craft. - Chris Paige
The second is from RT Book Reviews:
IN THE LION'S MOUTH
by Michael Flynn
Genre: Science Fiction, General Science Fiction
Space opera is not usually rife with mythological references or Celtic-flavored fantasy elements, but this third installment in a trilogy that began with The January Dancer uses both to interesting effect. Flynn’s unusual approach adds a layer of interest to a rather standard plot of civil war and betrayal, but readers who like their science fiction straight up might grow impatient with his use of multiple dialects, poetic devices and ballads, and a narrative technique that relies on numerous points of view throughout.
In the long struggle between the Confederation of Central Worlds and the United League of the Periphery, the Hounds and the Shadows are the secret agent arms of each power. Long enemies, when Ravn Olafsdottr, a Shadow, arrives at the stronghold of Bridget ban, a Hound, with the story of Donovan buigh, Bridget’s missing former lover, a truce is called. As Ravn relates the story of her capture of Donovan, Bridget learns of Donovan’s unwilling involvement in a civil war between rebels and loyalists in the Lion’s Mouth, the Shadow’s organization bureau. (TOR, Jan., 304 pp., $25.99)
Reviewed By: Donna M. Carter
(I suppose it's a good review when the only complaint regards the "use of multiple dialects, poetic devices and ballads, and a narrative technique that relies on numerous points of view." I have actually gotten kvetches in the past that my books have "too much characterization" and that all he (the reader) wanted was "content." This is much easier to do with a single POV, no differences in voice, and none of that poetry stuff. I think it's called an "outline" or "cliffnotes.")