Together with The Assassini trilogy by Jon Courtenay Grimwood, the Danilov Quintet series Jasper Kent holds place at the top as one of the most exciting alternative history series around. Set in 19th century Russia, this excellent series has been, without any exception, really great so it is with great expectations that we are awaiting each new installment. The People's Will is the fourth, penultimate, book in the series and is set in few years ahead in the story, in 1881.
This time the story revolves around the left wing terrorist organisation called The People's Will, who wants to assassinate Tsar Alexandar II. The events start to unfurl when a prisoner held captive for two years is freed from citadel of Geok Tepe by Colonel Otrepyev. However, freedom comes in many shapes and sizes and suddenly it comes to light that the prisoner only changed one sort of prison with another. This, at first glance tiny and insignificant situation, pushes forward a huge chain of events which as always revolves around strange politics of power and revenge specific to vampires. What's interesting is that, as always, Kent weaves the story around true historical events and the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Tsar Alexander II by The People's Will are actually true. To give the organisation it's proper Russian name, Narodnaya Volya have actually managed to successfully assassinate Tsar Alexander II.
What sets apart the entire Danilov Quintet from similar series on the market is the writing. Jasper Kent is fantastic at creating a living breathing historical atmosphere together with it's many and complex intricacies, and at times you can easily forget that you are actually reading about fictional account which includes none other than vampires. The whole thing simply works so well together. That being said, you should definitely start at the beginning of the series and not with The People's Will. The book as such works well as a standalone piece but with a plethora of recurring characters and overall feel of the series which expands with each new piece, you'll miss a lot by skipping the first three books. As such, The People's Will is simply great. It will be interesting to see where Kent will go next once he's done with the series - I, for one, am expecting great things from him.