An epic journey across another world, the first book in a forthcoming series.
Tom Navo, believing he’s murdered his boss, somehow survives a swan dive from the roof of his office building. He’s not as fortunate after witnessing a robbery, and he awakens in a place called The Waiting Room, apparently in the afterlife. Tom’s ultimate endpoint is the planet Leterra, where his memories fade and he’s determined to return to his previously unmentioned wife and children. He delivers a letter to Shakara, who leads Tom to question the validity of his recollections. Appearing throughout the story are accounts by Ian Azikwe, whose details of the world’s history blanket the narrative without slowing its pace. Readers will recognize customary elements of fantasy in Hennessy’s debut novel. There are trolls, dragons, gnomes and leprechauns, and some of the strange terminology is a slight variation on known words—vire in lieu of sire, insooth in place of indeed, etc. A glossary addendum of terms, characters and regions is included, but the book’s relatable qualities are ideal and will prevent readers from bookmarking the glossary. Some of the material, however, is regrettably derivative. Certain sentences begin with a verb, followed by the subject, like Yoda of Star Wars, and Tom is equivalent to Alice in Wonderland when he descends into a hatch and is aided by animals capable of speech. Hennessy succeeds with his ingenuity, including his original creatures, such as a gyrran (Tom’s friend and traveling companion, Bravis), a small gazelle with two horns, falcon wings and the tail of an eel; and Evolvueas, four-legged animals that walk upright and wear human attire; though sharks, the Marenifdae, also sport limbs. The few instances of humor are welcome and occasionally dark, such as Tom’s discussion with vultures as they dine on a bison carcass. A war between the Northern and Southern regions makes for a rousing conclusion, and an open ending is a clear setup for part two.
Endlessly imaginative in a world populated by foreign beings, though some readers may find the terrain a little too familiar.