Erickson’s (Blood Wizard Chronicles: Stormwind, 2015) first volume in an epic fantasy series features a vengeful young wizard and the elves hunting him.
On the world of Kuldarr, it’s the Era of Enlightenment. Nevertheless, to be a wizard is to be reviled as a destroyer among the races of man and Elf. In the human village of Bremingham, 8-year-old Ashyn Rune is hated for being what everyone else isn’t: literate and curious as well as red-haired and olive-skinned. When Ashyn interrupts the romance between his sister Julietta and the popular Gregiry, the older boy throws a rock at Ashyn—and it disintegrates in midair. Just before hearing a warning voice in his head, Ashyn also watches Gregiry’s arm catch fire. Following these strange incidents, Orcs attack Bremingham, razing it, and kidnap Julietta. Ashyn wanders the ruins and meets the wizard Xexial Bontain, who takes the boy under his wing. Meanwhile, Councilor Brodea of the Ferhym Elves has identified Ashyn as a Nuchada, someone inherently capable of magic, and marks him for capture. On their trek through the Shalis-Fey woods, Ashyn learns about his heritage from Xexial. Meanwhile a telepathic dragon named Xao, tasked with watching the boy, does so from a distance. In his debut novel, author Erickson indulges in plenty of high-resolution action and explorations of moral gray zones. His prose, while occasionally bloated, will please fantasy fans: “Lightning crackled through the air and exploded through the chests of both beasts.” Some story elements are critical of religion and familial obligation, yet Erickson steers clear of blanket statements, allowing characters (the female Elf lovers, Whísper and Shedalia) and events (the child slavery of the Jasians) to speak for themselves. And like many epic fantasists, he keeps his principal characters spread across his realm to prepare for future installments.
A dense and violent series opener seeded with events of grand consequence.