The city-state of Varuz is failing. Duke Aurelian is the last of his line, his capital is crumbling, and the armies of his enemy, Duke Conrad, are poised beyond the mountains to invade. Aurelian is preparing to gamble everything on one last battle. So when a holy man, the Doctor, comes to Varuz from beyond the mountains, Aurelian asks for his blessing in the war.
But all is not what it seems in Varuz. The city-guard have lasers for swords, and the halls are lit by electric candlelight. Aurelian’s beloved wife, Guena, and his most trusted knight, Bernhardt, seem to be plotting to overthrow their Duke, and Clara finds herself drawn into their intrigue...
Will the Doctor stop Aurelian from going to war? Will Clara’s involvement in the plot against the Duke be discovered? Why is Conrad’s ambassador so nervous? And who are the ancient and weary knights who arrive in Varuz claiming to be on a quest for the Holy Grail…?
I ended up really enjoying this Doctor Who novel. This might be simply because I loved the setting, which was a medieval-like culture with remnants of modern technology, but I thought the plot was interesting as well. It seemed a lot less "science-y" which might bother some readers, but I didn't mind. Personally, I was just pleased that it wasn't overly confusing. Doctor Who is known for it's complicated plots, but sometimes it's nice to have a story that's a little more straightforward.
This book was also very clean. There was a bit of a love triangle between the the Duke, his wife, and his most trusted friend (yeah, all very Camelot-inspired) but it never got inappropriate. I did catch one or two technical editing errors, though, but that didn't really spoil my enjoyment of the book. It did feel the ending was a little rushed, though, and the book was short, which meant that there wasn't a whole lot of world-building. (and the Doctor seemed a little out of character here and there...) Still, Royal Blood was one of the better Doctor Who books that I've read, but that might be because it approached my "comfort" genre of historical fiction more than the others. ;)
Rating: 7 1/2
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.