The Shadow of the Gauntlet by Casey Caracciolo

The Shadow of the Gauntlet

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In this high-tech fantasy, young Thomas Scargen finds himself embroiled in a magical war while searching for his missing father.

Carl Scargen has been excavating artifacts from Old Egypt, including the sites of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, which were buried under sand during the Tech War. Eventually, Scargen’s team finds an ancient gem that radiates immense energy. When the doctor touches the object, a dangerous villain materializes. Meanwhile, back in New Salem, Scargen’s son Thomas wakes from a horrible dream in which his father has gone missing. No sooner does he begin investigating than a magical battle breaks out on his doorstep. During a fight against black ooze creatures called Eerah, Thomas meets a Spirit Summoner named Yareli, her ghostly companion Wiyaloo, and the teleporting dragon Bartleby. They’ve come to escort him to the great mage Ziza Bebami in the mystical city of Sirati. The group is waylaid, however, by agents of the merciless Grayden Arkmalis. Why is Thomas special to both the Council of Mages and an evil, nearly invincible warlord? Perhaps a stone gauntlet of awesome power, wielded by a long line of noble adventurers, holds the answer. Debut author Caracciolo’s sprawling, cleanly written adventure offers everything from librarian trees to soldiers who ride giant bats. Additionally, he stocks seemingly every corner of his futuristic fantasy with vampires, werewolves, intelligent machines and more. Fusing these elements with some comic book tropes, he builds a rollicking tale of longing and self-discovery. Readers will welcome his dry wit: “The imp wore a tan button-down shirt and a green vest—formal attire for an imp, seeing that imps did not normally wear clothing.” Sometimes, though, the prevalence of cockney accents goes overboard: “We ’av given dem duh merchandise, and dey ’av given us duh credits in return.” Nevertheless, Caracciolo’s nonstop imaginative display is riveting. His tale zips among feverishly concocted set pieces and lovingly rendered characters. The final showdown, crafted with aplomb, whets appetites for what should be a doubly epic second volume.

An impressive magical beginning for the legend of Scargen and his motley crew.

Pub Date: May 18th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0615779201
Page count: 504pp
Publisher: Roundstone Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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