CM . . . . Volume XV Number 17. . . .April 17, 2009.
Calgary, AB: Dragon Moon Press/Hades Publications, 2008.
313 pp., pbk., $19.95.
Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Ronald Hore.
Fialan stared. Blood poured from the Silren’s chest as Fialan pulled his long sword away. The blow would be a mortal wound to any Eleion– even to a first-blood, those born with god’s blood in them.
“What are you?” Fialan demanded. “Demon?” Sweat dripped from his brow, and Areyn knew Fialan was afraid.
Areyn grinned. “I am your death,” he replied. “I grow weary of this game.”
With that, an invisible force ripped Fialan’s sword from his hands. Areyn Sehduk approached, and Fialan found he could not move; some infernal power rooted him to the ground. Fialan could do nothing but watch helplessly as the death god, almost lazily, plunged the sword into his chest.
Fialan collapsed, writhing in pain for a moment before lying still. His silver eyes stared unblinking into the dark sky. Areyn chuckled. “I suppose it is some consolation to know that you would’ve won,” he remarked. He pulled the dark blade from the dead king and gazed at the blood as it rolled down its edge. “But no mere mortal will defeat me.”
The setting is the universe of the Nine Worlds where a truce between warring gods has existed for two thousand years after a war that almost destroyed everything. Now the truce has been broken. On one side is the god of death, Areyn Sehduk; on the other side is Rhyn’athel, god of
warriors and his brother, Ni’yah, the trickster wolf-god. Areyn Sehduk takes human form to involve one militant clan against another. In this world, we have normal humans, gods, and various levels of godlings who lie somewhere in between.
The story opens with the murder of Fialan, King of the Lochvaur, by the demon god of death, Areyn Sehduk. Areyn’s plan is to steal control of this world, one clan at a time, without alerting Rhyn’athel that the truce has been broken and thus finish what he started two thousand years ago, the destruction of humanity. The Lochvaur are going to be the first to fall to Areyn. Fialan has a beautiful Queen, Lachlei, who is a former swordswoman. Ni’yah is aware of Areyn’s plans and is trying to convince his more powerful brother, Rhyn’athel what is going on so that he will interfere as he is the only god powerful enough to match the god of death in battle.
The devious Ni’yah arranges for Rhyn’athel to see Lachlei. The god of warriors falls in love with the widowed Queen and reluctantly is drawn into the conflict under the guise of a human warrior from a distant town. He calls himself Rhyn, and he joins the Queen’s army. She soon makes him
one of her commanders. The god and the Queen are obviously attracted to each other, but she is feeling guilty as it is so soon after the death of her husband. To compound their problems, if battles with neighbouring clans, the god of death, demons and arch-demons are not problems enough, Areyn Sehduk controls the dead and forces them to fight in his army against their own former peoples. One of these dead warriors forced to fight for the god of death is Fialan. Lachlei becomes the key to victory, fought over by two gods and her deceased husband.
This complex novel involves political treachery, scenes of battles, fights with demons, and shape-shifting, quarrelling gods. The gods are plagued with some very human feelings.
At more than 300 pages, the book is broken down into 89 short chapters including an epilogue. In addition, there is also a three and a half page appendix of people, places, and things, a one page author’s biography and four pages of additional titles. One minor complaint; the print is smaller than usual, but it does not detract from the overall read.
Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups and workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.
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