Bartholomew Etienne Pelletier has been looking for someone for the last 1,500 years. After enduring centuries of pain, torture and suffering on and off again at the hands of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen who could destroy the world, he has finally found his source of salvation. A young girl named Matilde will be the next Catcher. She will help to keep the world safe from the horsemen. Her parents and toddler brother are killed by some of Famine's soulless cadavers she keeps as company and Bartholomew saves Matilde. He is determined to keep her safe while he trains her and gets her ready to be what she will most certainly become. It is too much to ask of a child what she will have to endure, so he waits and watches.
"He would protect her and ready her for war. But he would not sacrifice a child, no matter how many souls hung in the balance."
This was a most fascinating read. I have never read an apocalyptic book where the story was spun quite in this direction before. It is totally new to me and different makes it very interesting! First of all, Famine is
one of the horsemen and she likes to eat flesh. In fact, she really likes to flay off pieces of Bartholomew's flesh and eat it. This is part of the torture he has endured for so very long. Famine can also make him do what she wants when she is in close proximity. However, with the finding of Matilde, her hold lessens upon him. The Catcher also has a certain hold on Bartholomew since he is also bound to her spirit as well. Famine creates cadavers and keeps them as company. They are much like zombies that can talk and have some small amount of brains. They are equally as difficult to kill as zombies are. Famine has taken their souls and now they are nothing but dry, clanking bones within leathery flesh. In a way, it's kind of nasty really. There are some grisly parts to the book no doubt. But it also shows the resolve that Bartholomew has created to keep himself going after so many centuries. This certain hardness has also put him in a spot to be rather alone until he finds the girl. Although he struggles with it, he finds his harsh exterior being crushed slowly and systematically by the orphan now under his care. And one of the most surprising parts of the book? Finding out why he is called the Penumbra, or almost shadow. But I am not going to tell you that little tidbit! You will have to read it yourself to find out more!
Facts about Bartholomew:
Has many scars.
Has endured much pain and suffering.
Has a sword called a gladius.
Was a Roman soldier.
Bound to Famine and the Catcher.
Good looking for his age.
Not interested in long term relationships.