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WesternSFA
Night Pilgrims
by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Tor, $29.99, 416pp
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
This is the latest offering from Ms Yarbro for her enduring, and ever-suffering, Saint Germain (as I prefer to think of him.) This time Saint Germain and Rogerian must travel on pilgrimage through the holy lands in the early 1220’s. Forced to leave a safe haven due to the encroaching Mongols led by Jenghiz Khan (also known as Genghis Khan), he takes a post with a traveling group of pilgrims as their translator and physician. As they travel up the Nile towards Ethiopia , he has to deal with hidden agendas amongst his group along with the threat of bandits and other predators like lions and jackals. The group is led by a crusader knight doing penance for an ill deed; who, while an effective warrior, is little prepared to lead a group of civilian pilgrims. The group includes a defrocked priest, a camp follower looking for the missing father of her children, and a family seeking God’s grace to heal someone left behind in Aquitaine . The family includes the stricken man’s wife, Margrethe, and her husband’s sister and his heir. The sister is also a nun and prone to visions and hysteria which proves a tremendous trial when she loses her wits completely. The trials of the journey plus caring for her unstable sister-in-law weigh heavily on Margrethe who begins to be increasingly attracted to Saint Germain.

Saint Germain, while in need of what she can provide, knows it would be extremely dangerous for both of them to engage in any intimate activity. Rogerian does what he can to help provide for his master but he worries constantly that Saint Germain’s health continues to decline from the brutal sun and the flooding waters of the Nile .

This book is exactly like many others that Ms Yarbro has written; there are no surprises and little mystery or suspense. The biggest problem I see in this series is that they do not follow a chronology; that is, we do not see any changes or growth in our hero; he is quite static. And this is because the author hops around through history and cannot make any changes or give him any new insights that were not already present in a story set at a later time. Although I continue to buy the books and cannot bring myself to miss a story, I am quite bored and disappointed. As a lifelong fan of Saint Germain, I just keep hoping the next one will bring me the same satisfaction as the early stories. ~~ Catherine Book

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