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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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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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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