In Edwards’ fantasy novel, a motley band of humans, elves, hybrids, and lycanthropes battles creatures from hell and intergalactic enemies of ancient Egyptian deities.
Edwards’ work is largely a cautionary tale, demonstrating how a planet such as Altera, or Earth for that matter, can bring destruction on itself through the misdeeds of its inhabitants; behavior that can only serve to strengthen the minions of hell. Filled with demons, vampires, dwarves, ogres, the undead, orcs, dragons, and a holy and unholy host of others, this installment of Edwards’ fantasy series glories in the kind of entertaining excess endemic to the genre. But aside from including the excitement of big battles, gallant rescues, and astounding beasts, the author has also imbued his characters with souls—and troubled, fascinating ones at that. The heroes are all severely flawed, hiding and brooding over dark secrets. Even the villains are multifaceted. The story unfolds as a mystery. As the heroes rescue mortals and battle diverse enemies, it becomes increasingly apparent that it’s no longer business as usual on Altera. Forces of hell not usually aligned seem to be teaming up, and there is evidence of off-planet interference as well as a revival of hostilities between the ancient Egyptian deities of Isis, Osiris, and Set. As their journey continues, the characters not only uncover facts pertaining to the mystery, but also learn convincing details about their own gnarly psyches. Edwards’ meticulously constructed world is one where faith can wield power directly from a god; while conversely, the lack of faith can render a god impotent. It’s also a parable that relates directly to us here on Earth, touching on everything from the nature of faith to the nature of our prison system.
Will satisfy staunch sword-and-sorcery fans as well as those who revel in well-constructed characters in constant existential crisis.