The Wisdom of Dead Men by Oisin McGann

With The Wisdom of Dead men, Oisin McGann once again creates a rich and nuanced world where every plot twist and turn is both surprising and fascinating. Truly unique worldbuilding creates a rich environment for characters to develop and prosper from/fall victim to Machiavellian scheming. I was hooked from the first page.


Story: Nate and Berto now have the power to change Wildenstern family habits away from their bloody history. The problem is – only Daisy and Tatiana are on board with the changes. When women with an unknown connection to the family turn up dead, Nate and Daisy begin their own investigations. But what they find may very well be the worst family secret of all – and more than those women may end up in the graveyard.

With this second book, we’re given a lot more information about the crazy world in which this story is set – from the origins of the engimals to the ‘intelligent particles’ keeping the Wildensterns immortal and healthy. It turns out, other families also share the special blood and Gerald’s investigations are beginning to bear fruit – it may just be that both the engimals and the Wildensterns share a connection.

With everything from secret societies, theological musings, to betrayals from within, The Wisdom of Dead Men never fails to excite. I greatly appreciated how the author expanded the world but didn’t lose it in the process – the big picture was once again overshadowed by the machinations within the Wildenstern family. I also especially appreciated the past echoing in the present – a theme prevalent throughout both books but especially interesting since both novels pretty much end with revelations from the exact same type of event.

Characters continue to develop and change as they deal with the events of the novels. Daisy and Nate are the two main protagonists but we’re also given interesting backstory from new side characters who subtly influence the plot. I’m typically not a fan of multiple POVs but McGann really makes it work and they add greatly to the story.

As with the first book, I eagerly await the next (and final) in the Wildenstern Saga. This has been such a breath of fresh air in the urban fantasy/historical/steampunk genres. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

This entry was posted in alternate history, Book Reviews, Steampunk, urban fantasy. Bookmark the permalink.

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