In Blackhurst’s debut, love, treachery and adventure await the questing band of heroes responsible for saving their planet in this science-fiction tale dressed in fantasy garbs.
Mass destruction looms on the horizon for the world of Rades. Hedron, a mystic obsessed with forbidden magic, learns of a secret weapon with the power to obliterate large populations in a single strike. The weapon, though, is not magic—it’s science. When humans first came to Rades centuries ago, they brought enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet. With the weapons lost, Rades became a sword-and-sorcery world controlled by mystics and kings, but Hedron’s discovery threatens that existence. Ghyle, another powerful mystic and Hedron’s former master, must assemble a band of skilled adventurers to stop Hedron’s plans. At first glance, these heroes seem unoriginal—any reader remotely familiar with Tolkien’s classic high-fantasy series will likely note undeniable similarities between Middle Earth’s famous adventurers and many of Blackhurst’s: two friends known for causing mischief; a dutiful soldier with a dark cloud hanging above him; a short, “almost dwarfish” man with a gruff attitude but a heart of gold. Delph, by far, has the most recognizable features. As prince of the Endemi, the native people of Rades, he possesses superior senses and agility, pointed ears, long blonde hair and immense skill with a bow and arrow. But despite their unoriginal basic character stats, each adventurer quickly develops his own distinct personality. Moreover, the character Vitora stands on her own from the start—without her, the novel couldn’t get very far. The mysteries surrounding Vitora’s origin and her developing love for a certain Endemi prince steal attention away from the underlying save-the-planet plot, but rather than weighing down the adventure, their budding relationship strengthens it and blushes with charm.
Readers in search of complete originality could skip this journey, but they’ll miss Blackhurst’s smooth prose in an engaging, easy-to-follow plot driven by highly accessible characters.