The type of man who can scale buildings with the greatest of ease, assassinate baddies dual-weapon-style by ground or by rooftop, have his wounds treated by a doctor friend and still turn up on your bedroom balcony by nightfall. Swoon.
The only problem is that he’s a character from a video game.
Yes, dear readers: aside from my other fifty billion nerdalicious pursuits, I am quite fond of PC/Console RPG’s (Role-Playing Games), and the Assassin’s Creed franchise is something of an especially addictive one. There’s something heady about imagining yourself as an assassin, creeping up on your unsuspecting victim; the look of deep surprise masking his or her face for only a moment, but a moment that is very special to them because it’s their LAST MOMENT ALIVE. Revenge is a dish best served cold, or so they say, but Ezio’s particular brand of warm humour paired with flashing dark eyes sits especially well with me.
Knowing my recently-discovered penchant for virtual assassination then, imagine my surprise and secret delight to discover that Assassin’s Creed has its very own offspring fiction with Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. While I can’t comment on the calibre of prose (must we always expect the highest literary standard?! Sigh. I suppose we must), I found it interesting that a video game could inspire not only one piece of fiction, but also generate a follow-up work.
The other reason I make light of the fact that I am quite possibly in love with a computer character is due to a new book: The Fallen Blade (Act One of The Assassini), by Jon Courtenay Grimwood. The cover reminds me of Assassin’s Creed; the story is set in Renaissance Italy (hoorah!); and sure enough, the blurb makes reference to assassins. Well, VAMPIRE assassins.
Venice, 1407. The city is at the height of its powers. In theory, Duke Marco commands, but Marco is a simpleton so his aunt and uncle rule in his stead. They seem all powerful, yet live in fear of assassins better than their own. On the night their world changes, Marco’s young cousin prays in the family chapel for deliverance from a forced marriage. It is her misfortune to be alone when Mamluk pirates break in to abduct her – an act that will ultimately trigger war. Elsewhere Atilo, the Duke’s chief assassin, cuts a man’s throat. Hearing a noise, he turns back to find a boy drinking from the victim’s wound. The speed with which the angel-faced boy dodges his dagger and scales a wall stuns Atilo. He knows then he must hunt him. Not to kill him, but because he’s finally found what he thought was impossible – someone fit to be his apprentice.
NO, DON’T GROAN! This book is receiving highly favourable comments from bloggers! It could be the NEXT BIG THING.
And won’t you hate yourself for pre-judging it, if it is?
At any rate, I’M not going to pre-judge it. Keep your eyes peeled for my thoughts on what should be an exciting, action-packed and enemy-slaying read indeed.