Secret of the Thistle (Rainfallen #2), by Benjamin Aeveryn

27 Nov 2023

The Book

Secret of the Thistle
Series: Rainfallen
Pages: 354
Age Group: Adult
Published on 20 Nov 2023
Publisher: Self-Published
Available on:


There's nothing more dangerous than a paranoid king.

Wickerton is in peril. Obsessed with the idea of an attack coming from the Bright Crown of Northumbria, the Unholy King keeps raising taxes to pay for an ever-expanding army. But such an attack will never come. With taxes on the rise, and no money to pay the collector, Fay must find a small fortune within a month or Wickerton’s canvas shelter will be torn down as punishment.

While Galahad languishes in the dark of New London, a bloody letter arrives from the north: Elaine is in trouble. Despite everything that's happened between them, Galahad can't help but to rush to her aid. Now he must travel to the origin of the magic that stained his eyes the colour of whisky, and try to save the woman he both hates and loves.

Each must do their best to slay new monsters, face old enemies, and reforge broken relationships.

It's time to fight for the things that matter.

My Review

Secret of the Thistle is the second instalment on the grimdark series Rainfallen, written by Benjamin Aeveryn. We are dropped months after what happened in Salt in the Wound; the Unholy King keeps raising taxes for gathering an army due to his paranoia, and Wickerton is struggling to pay them. Threatened with getting their canvas shelter down, Fay will have to travel to New London to gather a small fortune to pay those taxes in one month. Meanwhile, Galahad languishes in New London, devoid of a purpose, until a mysterious letter arrives from Elaine: she's in trouble in the Empire of the Thistle. Galahad won't doubt a second on travelling to the land that might reveal the secret of his whiskey colour eyes, and that might bring a new hope for the Unholy Kingdom and Wickerton.

In this second instalment, we will be following those two parallel threads, the first of them Fay's desperate search in New London for funds that might allow her to save Wickerton; despite she promised to leave behind the underground and traffic life, desperation will close any other viable way.
The second of them takes Galahad to the Empire of the Thistle and Eydin; despite hating Elaine, curiosity and the thrill of a new hunt are stronger. Once he arrives, he discovers that all is just a cover up, and as usual, Elaine has other plans for him, in a city that is openly hostile to people like them.

Aeveryn continues exploring this post-apocalyptic world of the Rainfallen series, taking us to those new locations, which are drawn from real life places (New London and Eydin as the counterpart to Edinburgh). It's interesting how the New London thread becomes a sort of reference to his novella, Blackcap, going for a closer noir route, meanwhile in Galahad's route, we have a story that will draw closer to cavalry quests, while taking the opportunity for dealing with difficult themes as depression and disabilities (there are really powerful scenes involving Elaine).

Similarly to book 1, we have a carefully crafted prose, which adequates for the situation while still maintaining that small lyrical nuance that serves as a nexus between modern storytelling and Arthurian myths, one of the biggest inspirations from this book.

Secret of the Thistle is an excellent sequel, exploring different parts of the world while deepening into the characters we previously knew; and let's all set for a thrilling third book. Can't wait for it!

The Author/s

Benjamin Aeveryn

Benjamin Aeveryn

Benjamin Aeveryn is an author of SFF from Cambridge, UK, where he lives with his beautiful fiance and a grumpy old cat. Salt in the Wound is his debut novel. People say his work is grimdark fantasy, but for a vision of England where it’s always raining, infrastructure is crumbling, and nobody trusts their neighbours, he only has to look out of his window.