This is in the fantasy genre. You can tell by the subtitle: A Tale of the 3rd Age of Orinthia. It seemed to me like a YA work — not that it isn’t rich and interesting enough to be read by adults, but because one (or two?) of the main characters is a teen, which is usually a hallmark of YA books, and because it is not noir with a lot of gratuitous gory violence, which suits me just fine, having the delicate sensibilities that I do. (Shut up, you in the back. I’ll tend to you later.)
It opens with two brothers, 12 and 15, finding a dead body in the woods, dead a long time, basically a skeleton with clothes. Now you already know how I feel about skeletons. I am bullish on skeletons. So I am figuring this definitely has promise. And it does.
The dead guy turns out to be a mage, and mages have been outlawed since the last war. And anyone who associates with mages is also suspect, and hunted down by the Seekers, a fanatical cult out to make the world safe for
democracy decent people to live in peace, as they have been able to do for the last 20 years.
But remember that game “You Touched Him Last!!”? Yeah, those brothers are in deep
sh doodoo, because they handled the amulet clutched in the dead guy’s hand. That means they will have to beat feet to some hidden location to ride out the storm of the advancing Seekers.
Meanwhile, with the Seekers is a well-intentioned man looking for spiritual knowledge, who becomes disenchanted — VERY disenchanted with the actions of the Seekers, and makes the decision to save and friend and leave the group along with his young page who is determined to accompany him. I’m betting my magick cauldron that the two groups meet up at some point and …… well, you know…… defeat the forces of evil or something.
This is an introduction to the sweeping story that will follow, as the author has planned a series based on the world of Orinthia.
So, final diagnosis? Good story, well written, lots and lots of characters, likeable folks, and all indications of some cool world building coming up.
Ya’ll know I am not much of a fantasy reader. So one of the things I am always struck by is that they all seem to be set in fantasy worlds which strikingly resemble early medieval Briton, or at the most, early medieval Germany. And I can never understand why with all that magic abounding, these mages and sorcerers and wizards can’t magick up some indoor plumbing, better cooking techniques other than pots hanging over fires, and more spiffy modes of transport other than horses. What is it about primitive living conditions that is so attractive that new worlds are created for them?
I know, I know. I am too pragmatic. I want my magic to be utilitarian. I mean, what the heck am I going to do with dragon and a protective amulet that obviously didn’t work all that good if the guy got killed anyway? I’ll take an AK-47 over some magic spells and hocus-pocus any day of the week.