I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Urgus the Scribe by Robert David Boyle
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Sometimes it takes an outsider to recognize what is worth saving.
A city is in decay, and peril. In desperation its aristocratic leader and his troubled daughter turn to the Gatherers, the tax collectors, to defend them. Despised by the citizens they serve, the tough Gatherers, under Hector, their brooding, semi-civilized chieftain, fight heroically to save a culture in which they have little part. And midst it all there is Urgus the Scribe, recording the violence and gallantry about him while wriggling out of every danger. And making time to satisfy - he thinks - the desires of the society ladies
Urgus the Scribe is a book about its namesake that describes his adventures as the scribe for the Gatherers, a group of tax collectors/warriors who collect taxes for and defend a decaying Romanesque city.
The world building in this novel is superb and you often times feel like you are really there. Plot-wise, it has a very slow beginning and action was minor until it started picking up in the middle. The main character, Urgus, is rather unlikeable and full of faults. The story is mostly told in first person by Urgus, which does add a little bit (only a little) to his likeability as at least you know what he was thinking. I wished I could say he grew or become heroic, but he pretty much remains unchanged throughout the novel. Perhaps he did change a little in epilogue, but I don’t want to spoil anything by discussing that. There are quite a number of well-developed characters in the present who were interesting and likeable, but I wished we got more of their history and back story. Many still remain a bit mysterious to me.
Overall, I found the book to be likeable, even while it’s main character maybe was not. But not every book can have a hero who saves the day, or someone who grows up and becomes honorable. Even though it has a slow start, I found myself enjoying it near the end and interested in where the story was going to go. This is a good book to spend a few evenings with.