by H. David Blalock
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
0 pages; ISBN: 1591133610
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Paul Lappen
Andalarn Thran, head of House Thran, is attempting to reestablish his family on the island of Adylonis. The House was exiled to the mainland several hundred years previously when it took sides against another human House who had attacked a race of dwarves called the Telmet. Andalarn is not the hero type, being a merchant with five children. With help from an elven healer named Baliak, he appeals to the Telmet for help in restoring House Thran to its former position.
Standing in Thran's way are House Suum, a military House who makes no secret of their desire to wipe out House Thran, once and for all, and the priestly caste called the Tialsar who play the Houses against one another for their own advantage. The referee between the Houses is the Council of Mages in the city of Moorkai, the actual seat of power on Adylonis.
No House has the power to become Ascendant on its own, so the choice of the Council will have plenty of authority on the island. Underlying all of this are rumors and uneasiness about a legendary being called the Great Diur, whose return would mean the end of everything on the island. Many believe that anything, even death, is better than the Great Diur's return.
Fans of Robert E. Howard will love this book, for his influence is all over it. For everyone else, it's a really good dark fantasy story (the first of a series) with good characters, elves and dwarves, a bit of blood, ancient forces best left alone; in short, it's got everything a reader needs. Keep an eye on this series; it's worth reading.