Title: Funeral Games
Author: Colin Heintze
Narrator: Nigel Peever
Ingerval is the Country of the Dead. Despised by the wider world, blighted by history, since the beginning of time, it has honored one law: the Dead rule, and the Living submit. No one remembers why Ingerval nobles return as ghosts after their deaths. To enjoy a brief life of pleasure and plenty, followed by an eternity of reigning from beyond the grave, is the fate of all Ingerval lords. All but one.
As the youngest son of the King’s third wife, Syphax never thought he would amount to anything. He is content to live out a contemplative life free from the scourges of power and politics that infatuate his peers. But after answering a summons to the Palace, a sprawling, ever-expanding repository for Ingerval’s ghosts, he finds himself at the heart of a dynastic struggle centuries in the making.
Funerals are happy occasions in Ingerval, and the King is planning for his to be the most decadent in the country’s long memory. He does not know that, unlike every lord before him, he will not return to rule alongside his ancestors. He will die the true death, sparking a succession crisis that throws the noble families into chaos. Amidst the violence and intrigue, Syphax alone asks, “What really happened to the King?” The deeper Syphax digs, the more he realizes these events are connected to others dating back to the founding of his father’s dynasty.
Let the games begin.
Death is a central theme of this story, of course, but I loved the author’s take on it. The ability to talk to our ancestors, to understand the world as they did is a fantastic thought. Prince Syphax was a very relatable character coming into himself slowly as the story moves along. He’s the only one who sees something is wrong and does what he can to right the wrong, navigating through the Living and the Dead to do so.
Though it had a slow start, this mesh of genres picks up in intensity toward the end of the book. While the ending was a bit of a letdown, I could understand the author’s reason for it. I’m not a fan of typical happy endings anyway.
Narration is good and so is the background music and sound effects.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.