Written By: Jaleigh Johnson
Published By: Aconyte
Reviewed By: Melissa Minners
I love reading historical fiction novels. I also enjoy adventure-driven video games. Assassin’s Creed novels, based on the video game series, combine the two. The action and adventure set in history, containing characters and situations that existed in real life, make for quite an interesting read. I have enjoyed them all. At one point I had read them all, but now, all new novels are hitting the bookstores. My most recent acquisition: Assassin’s Creed: The Golden City by Jaleigh Johnson.
The Golden City features characters from the video game Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Set in Constantinople in 867C.E., the Hidden Ones (a precursor to the Brotherhood of the Assassins) have sent Master Assassin Basim ibn Ishaq and Assassin Acolyte Hytham to enter the city and prevent the Order of the Ancients from gaining a foothold. The Hidden Ones have learned that Emperor Basil has doubts that his son Leo is actually his own flesh and blood, despite the reassurances of Empress Eudocia. Basil has decided that Leo should be executed and the Order of the Ancients have offered to help him do just that.
It is up to Hytham and his mentor Basim to infiltrate the palace to prevent this from happening. While working with the Viking clan sworn to protect the members of the palace hierarchy to protect young Leo, Hytham must also attend to another mission the Hidden Ones have charged him with. Hytham must discover whether Basim is truly loyal to the order or if he has a hidden reason as to why he has taken on this mission. Neither mission will be easy. People with murderous intent are hidden behind every corner and Hytham is having a hard time knowing who to trust. Even worse, Hytham has become very close to Leo to the point of losing objectivity. Could it be possible that Hytham is in danger of doing the very thing that his mentor is being accused of, putting personal issues before the mission itself?
Assassin’s Creed: The Golden City has everything an Assassin’s Creed fan could ask for: action, intrigue, danger around every corner, disturbing revelations, and more. Jaleigh Johnson has written Hytham in such a way that we root for him in each and every endeavor regardless of how ill-thought-out his adventures can be. Basim is the mysterious mentor who has much to teach and is quite observant, despite the distraction of his personal secret mission. And secret it is – if you believe you will discover what it is in this novel, you are mistaken. As I read The Golden City, I realized I would never learn the truth behind Basim’s motives if I never played Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. I’ll have to get my hands on that game!
Johnson’s descriptive writing transports you to the ancient city of Constantinople and the days of the Emperors’ reign over the people. The twists and turns of the storyline keep you guessing as to who the members of the Order of the Ancients and their associates truly are. Who can we trust? Who wants to kill Leo and how will they get close enough to do it? While Hytham and Basim are terrific characters, I have to say that I enjoyed the co-stars of the novel as well. Thyra, an axe-wielding Viking warrior who is the leader of the Varangian Guard, is a formidable woman and worthy opponent to all who threaten the life of the heir to the throne. Leo is also a well-formed character, fearful, yet quite intelligent and in need of a proper mentor.
Assassin’s Creed: The Golden City is a worthy entry to the Assassin’s Creed novel series. The action and adventure contained in its pages were so captivating, I finished the book in a matter of a couple of days. Such a great read! I can’t wait to get my hand on the next Assassin’s Creed novel.
Check out Assassin’s Creed: The Golden City at Amazon