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Bestselling author Brent Weeks’ Perfect Shadow novella tells the origin story of The Night Angel trilogy’s expert assassin Durzo Blint.

In this tale, the legendary immortal is known as Gaelan Starfire, the man of many names and lives. This is a man who stands out and who’s unmatched in the art of war and killing people. To some he’s a hero – others have more cause to fear him. When he’s tasked with hunting down the world’s finest assassins for the beautiful and equally sly courtesan/crimelord Gwinvere Kirena, he embarks on a journey that threatens everything he’s ever believed in.

Gaelan strikes a mutually beneficial deal with Gwinvere; he’ll help her get the power and position she craves, and in return she will give him the name of the man who killed his family.

Full disclosure, I’m a Brent Weeks novice. I’ve never read any of his Night Angel novels, so going into Perfect Shadow was a risk. Whilst being thrown head first into this complex and expansive world is a little disorientating at first, it doesn’t take long to become immersed in the setting or invested in the complicated characters that inhabit it.

Being a novella, character introductions are brief and the only two who get sufficient page time are Gaelan and Gwinvere, both of whom are bold, fierce and fascinating in their motives and desires. Weeks gives a glimpse into the enigmatic league of assassins too, and it’s intriguing enough to make me want to instantly start the other books.

Combining assassinations, collusions, passion and power plays, Perfect Shadow is a novella that refuses to be forgotten. However, as a prologue containing apparent spoilers for the Night Angel series, it’s perhaps wise to read the trilogy first.

★★★★

Perfect Shadow was published by Orbit on 9 November 2017

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