The People's Will is the fourth installment in the sequence, and Kent continues to write with aplomb, pushing this story forward toward a grand finale which should be terrific! Once again, the author delivers on all fronts!
Here's the blurb:
Part historical adventure, part vampire thriller — the fourth dark and dazzling novel in Jasper Kent's 'Danilov Quintet'.
Turkmenistan 1881: Beneath the citadel of Geok Tepe sits a prisoner. He hasn'’t moved from his chair for two years, hasn'’t felt the sun on his face in more than fifty, but he is thankful for that. The city is besieged by Russian troops and soon falls. But one Russian officer has his own reason to be here. Colonel Otrepyev marches into the underground gaol. But for the prisoner it does not mean freedom, simply a new gaoler; an old friend, now an enemy. They return to Russia to meet an older enemy still.
In Saint Petersburg, the great vampire Zmyeevich waits as he has always waited. He knows he will never wield power over Tsar Aleksandr II, but the tsarevich will be a different matter. When Otrepyev delivers the prisoner into his hands, Zmyeevich will have everything he needs. Then all that need happen is for the tsar to die.
But it is not only the Otrepyev and his captive who have returned from Geok Tepe. Another soldier has followed them, one who cares nothing for the fate of the tsar, nor for Zmyeevich, nor for Otrepyev. He has only one thing on his mind – revenge. And it'’s not just Zmyeevich who seeks the death of the tsar. Aleksandr’'s faltering steps towards liberty have only made the people hungry for more, and for some the final liberty will come only with the death of the dictator. They have tried and failed before, but the tsar’'s luck must desert him one day. Soon he will fall victim to a group that has vowed to bring the Romanov dynasty to a violent end — a group that calls itself The People’'s Will.
More than two decades have elapsed since the events chronicled in The Third Section. This time, the historical backdrop for this novel is the period during which the People's Will, a group of revolutionaries, sought to bring the dictatorship of the Tsar to an end. Unlike its predecessor, in which the Crimean War acted only as a set-up to get certain characters into play, in The People's Will the brewing revolution takes center stage and influences basically every plotline and protagonist. Once again, Jasper Kent's flair and his eye for historical details capture the minutiae of the day-to-day life in Russia during that particular epoch and create an evocative narrative that never fails to dazzle the eye.
It was interesting to see the evolution and character growth in Dmitry's POV. To say that his life has changed would be an understatement, so it was great to see events unfold through his eyes. The most fascinating point of view, however, has to be Iuda. Through his POV and backstory, we learn so much about vampires and how/why he became the man who has left such an indelible mark in the series thus far. Mihail was another interesting addition to the cast, which now spans generations. It's captivating to realize just how all the threads that comprise this grand historical tapestry are all woven together. And the Zmyeevich POV was a treat, if only to discover more about this vampire's history. Characterization has always been a highlight in the Danilov Quintet and it's certainly no exception with The People's Will.
Both Thirteen Years Later and The Third Section occasionally suffered from pacing issues. Not so with this fourth volume, whose rhythm never falters from beginning to end. The more the story progresses, the more you need to find out what's going to occur next. I went through this one in a few sittings and now I can't wait for the final installment to be released!
I mention this in every single review: if you are looking for an intriguing blend of Russian historical fiction and paranormal fiction, Kent's Danilov Quintet is definitely what the doctor ordered. If you want to read something different, this series deserves the highest possible recommendation. Indeed, this should intrigue and satisfy even the most jaded genre fiction readers!
Hard to put down.
The final verdict: 8/10
For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.