In Crane’s debut fantasy-adventure, several plane-crash survivors find themselves stranded in a magical, mysterious parallel world, hunted by soldiers and strange creatures.
When a plane headed to Singapore goes down into the ocean, some passengers manage to reach nearby land. Their luck instantly runs out, however, as armed men quickly capture a handful of them, including a man named David and the pilot, Jeff. These two later escape their prison, along with fellow captives Jake, Matt, and Peter, though the five have no choice but to leave others behind. Eventually, they encounter a friendly local stranger, Loax, who explains that there are two parallel worlds—and the five men aren’t in their own anymore. The world they’re in now includes elves, giants, and magic. The men decide to train with Loax in order to take on the Reckoners, who’ve been hunting them since their prison break. David and company call themselves the Ghosts, after a legendary hero in Loax’s world, and go on to endure harrowing confrontations with a number of monstrous creatures. When they learn the truth about why the Reckoners have targeted them, the five men face a key decision. Crane enlivens his tale further by adding more characters—most notably, another group of surviving passengers. A few of these are mysterious: prisoners Alex and Mike (who, it appears, have allies back in Chicago) and Shark, a former soldier who used to work for the United Nations. Crane gradually reveals details on the enigmatic villains’ motives during a lengthy but action-packed final act. This narrative shift to a Ghosts-versus-Reckoners battle unfortunately drops the only two notable female characters from the story: Casey and Linda from the second group of survivors. But a memorable cliffhanger lays the groundwork for a potential sequel that might delve into the remaining players’ backgrounds further. Crane’s bare-bones prose sometimes skimps on particulars, such as descriptions of monsters, but it does maintain a steady pace until the end.
An engaging group of characters gives this planned series a fair amount of potential.