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Book Review: Irona 700 by Dave Duncan


When an empire is ruled by parliament, how do you choose your politicians in a fair and unbiased way? In Dave Duncan’s Irona 700, the answer is simple: Leave it up to the gods… kind of.

The book begins in the year 700, at the time when all children turning sixteen in that year are required to go to the capital and pay homage to the Goddess Caprice. Every year during this celebration, one of those participating is chosen by the Goddess to serve the people, taking their place as part of the governing body. This year the honour is, surprisingly, bestowed on Irona - a fisherman’s daughter living in a village on the outskirts of the capital city’s lands- and marks the beginning of a life-long career in politics.

The layout of chapters - each covering certain years within her career, with an italicised prologue paragraph bringing the reader up to speed with what has happened in the intervening time or summing up how we have reached this stage in the story – is helpful and engaging. If you have lost the thread of political sub-plot influences that may have an effect on the coming pages or if outside influences mean that you need to put the book down regularly and without resentment, this is a god-send.

There is, however, a lot of potential within the book that is just not realised. Relationships, sub-plots and years exist within the pages that have either not been touched upon or sufficiently delved in to, causing the book as a whole to feel somewhat rushed. A complete and complex life such as that of the main character is difficult to squeeze in to the 400 pages of this book.

On the off chance that Dave Duncan reads this review, I would encourage him to split his story in to 2-4 separate books, expanding on the current story for each. Or perhaps a sequel is in order from the view of some of the secondary characters? There are far too many promising characters and situations waiting to be explored.
To the readers out there, read it. Although there is, in my opinion, a lot lacking within the book, its universe is engaging and intriguing. It is, if nothing else, the perfect holiday read.

By Marie Zaharaki

Title: Irona 700
Author: Dave Duncan
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media LLC
Release date: 18–Aug –15
Pages: 400
Paperback   £11.18
Kindle £6.64
ISBN - 10: 1504002180
ISBN -13: 978-1504002189

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