Review: The Eyes of God by John Marco

The Eyes of GodThis book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

John Marco made a name for himself a few years ago, with his award-winning novel The Jackal of Nar and its two sequels. Now, with that story completed, Marco turns to the complexities of a new world. His latest novel, The Eyes of God, explores a land torn by war and internal strife.

King Akeela, of Liiria, ascends his throne in a time of conflict. Desperate to make peace, he travels to Reec, with whom his people have fought for decades. With him is his best friend and bodyguard, Lukien. Together, the two propose peace to Reec’s king, who accepts and offers his daughter in return, to cement the agreement. Both Akeela and Lukien fall in love with the beautiful Cassandra, but she falls victim to a wasting illness and her death seems imminent.

One last desperate hope remains. Lukien journeys to the faraway land of Jador, where legend says that two amulets exist,which are able to heal all diseases and grant their wearers immortality. His journey may be in vain; back in Liiria, Akeela slowly goes mad watching his wife waste away. Racing against time, Lukien searches for the amulets, hoping against hope for a miracle.

The Eyes of God defies categorization. Part romance, part military story, part adventure, part social commentary, it spans an impressive 789 pages. While excellently written, one can’t help but feel that it goes on a bit too long. Marco paints characters with a deft hand, but occasionally puts too much effort where broader strokes might suffice just as well. The novel doesn’t lag, but eventually feels a little more weighty than necessary.

The narrative itself, however, reads easily. Readers will find bits of classic stories thrown into the mix: The love triangle reminds one of Arthurian mythology, and Akeela’s madness echoes Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Eventually, the story takes off on its own, following the various characters and their quests. All of the plotlines are clearly thought out and interesting.

Although longer than it needs to be, The Eyes of God still has much that will interest readers. Marco’s fans should look forward to his next installment.