A crowded but visceral epic fantasy with plenty of political intrigue.



This debut novel sees a fragile peace imperiled by a cult of assassins.

In Wallevet Ministry, a territory of the Donovan Kingdom, Lord Minister Raymond Reimvick has been killed. This places the Empire Alliance—which keeps delicate peace between the Donovards and the Almerians to the north—at risk, because Raymond was the only one willing to negotiate for the treaty’s extension. The Donovard king, Erech Avaleau, is weak in mind and body. Many jockey for his throne, including his brother, Duke Brugarn. Fortunately, the loyal Maillard Valient, lord minister of Delavon Ministry, heads for Eglamour Palace to aid the king. In the palace, Princess Milisend learns to replace jewels with thimbles from her lover and master thief, Regaume. Her behavior doesn’t go unnoticed by Chief Magistrate Tronchet, who’s determined to catch her. Meanwhile, at the Perilune Academy, a cadet named Fetzer has failed to make squire yet again. Worse, he’s bullied by his classmates and mocked for keeping a journal. After going on a bloody rampage, he escapes Barres Ministry aboard the ship Meurden. He then meets members of the Order of the Candlestone. Led by the alchemist Arasemis, this secret group hopes to dissolve the kingdom using the arcane methods of the ancient tribe the Naren-Dra. Fuchs’ epic fantasy is a marathon of political maneuvers packed with assassins, deadly concoctions, and saber-rattling nation states. His penchant for using names like Rachard and Meriam summons a parallel medieval Europe. Readers, even fans of Game of Thrones, might gape at the volume of characters and territories in rotation. The focus inevitably falls on a handful of players, and the narrative thrill comes from the carefully plotted metamorphosis, for example, of young Arthan Valient as he goes from nobleman’s son to instrumental hero. With both feet primarily in the human realm, the author delivers his most fantastical creation: the Naren-Dra culture. The mountain natives use masks of “aglanrit wood…lined with gray gill ferns” to protect against the “alchemical mixtures” with which they dispatch their enemies. By the end of this series opener, the principal cast has undergone dramatic changes in anticipation of wider adventures.

A crowded but visceral epic fantasy with plenty of political intrigue.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946883-00-1

Page Count: 593

Publisher: Loremark Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2019

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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