It took me seven days to read the entire Rampart Trilogy by M.R. Carey, concluding with The Fall of Koli, and I wish it had been longer but I just couldn’t help myself! The experience has been truly spellbinding, and this final book wrapped up the story in a such a beautiful way that I couldn’t help thinking about the tale afterwards.
In my book review of the first book,The Book of Koli, I mentioned that the events unfolded in a fairly narrow geographical space. Not so in books two and three. Koli’s adventures in a post-apocalyptic world take him far and wide, contrasting with a subplot that continues to play out in Mythen Rood and is voiced by Spinner, a female character. I’m conscious that I’ve missed a review for the second installment, The Trials of Koli, on the blog, but I wanted to write this to coincide with the publication of the third book as it was kindly granted to me by NetGalley. I’ll follow up with the second novel review soon.
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The Fall of Koli is the third and final novel in the breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy – set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.
The world that is lost will come back to haunt us . . .
Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the old times, he knew he’d be battling strange, terrible beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for.
Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they’ve been following – the mysterious “Sword of Albion” – there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something.
Until they unearth terrifying truths about an ancient war . . . and realise that it may have never ended.
War and Peace
In this final section, the conflict escalates to extreme levels in both Koli’s and Spinner’s narratives. Koli is pitted against a sinister force, Sword of Albion, which is located on an isolated sea fortress and appears to be connected with the myths of the past. Back in Mythen Rood, Spinner finds herself defending against threats from the violent Peacemaker who is intent on forcing all the local villages to surrender to his will. Although different in style, the two struggles share fundamental similarities as authoritarian figures attempt to impose their warped values on others.
I found it incredibly refreshing to see that many of the wisest and most skilful characters in the Rampart Trilogy are female (or choose a female gender). Spinner, Ursala-from-Elsewhere and AI, Monono Aware are intelligent, quick-witted and compassionate. That’s not to say that they’re flawless, or that the men in the story aren’t admirable, but these ‘women’ continuously rise above chaos and act with foresight and wisdom. So too, Cup, a trans character, who has been cast out of her community for daring to embrace her intrinsic female nature. Feisty and brave, Cup is the best fighter in the tale, and her quest to follow her own path, fitted seamlessly into the story.
The Evolution of Myth
The role of myth and legend in The Fall of Koli was everything I’d hoped for. The threads start in the first book, and wind through to the ending, knitting everything together to form a greater arc. Wizards, messiahs and religions all feature, yet their roots are stranger and darker than their fantasy equivalents. There is a sense of time passing; of chinese whispers and stories taking their own shapes over the centuries so that realities twist into new forms. Sprinkle technology into this, and you have one wildly original ride with a uniquely British flavour.
I read all three books on an e-reader, but I loved the trilogy so much that I’m seriously considering buying physical copies and listening to the audiobooks. In the Rampart Trilogy, M.R. Carey has created a science fiction fantasy world, which has all the hallmarks of a classic. You become friends with the characters and for the too-short time spent reading, you exist in Koli’s world – uncovering its mysteries, experiencing its shortcomings. Expertly written, The Fall of Koli is filled with beautiful reflection, which unveils limitations within our own society while also telling a cracking story. All the stars!
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 23 March 2021
- No.of Pages: 560
- ISBN: 9780356513508
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