A squire tries to overcome his feelings about his father and his religion to accomplish great things in Techlin’s (Betrayal, 2013, etc.) fantasy novel.
This first volume of the Wither the Waking World series gives readers full entry into a fantasy world full of devout knights and bitter warfare. It begins with Theel, a young squire whose father and masterknight has recently died. Although Theel feels his father treated him poorly over the years as he tried to make him a perfect warrior, he still misses him deeply, whether or not he will admit it. He’s given a quest as part of his Warrior’s Baptism that will make him a knight if completed, but it seems absurd: he’s to find the Blessed Soul of Man, someone known only from prophecy. According to the prophet Sun Antheus, the Blessed Soul of Man will be the salvation of Theel’s country and his entire world. After a week spent drinking, drugging, and even being accused of murder, Theel finally sets out on his journey in the company of his devoted brother, Yatham. Theel lost his faith in God and prophecy long ago, but Yatham is a true believer. Together, they travel away from everything they’ve ever known and into deeply treacherous territory where Theel changes more than he could have imagined. In this first volume of his series, Techlin effectively addresses such weighty issues as forgiveness within a family, faith and what it takes to regain it, and even what happens when people in power betray their souls for other aims. The author also delivers another plotline—that of Aeoxoea, an assassin from another world sent to witness or cause the death of the Blessed Soul of Man. What she sees adds a degree of depth to the overall story and even, at one point, provides an unusual cyberpunk element. Overall, the author has created a world that readers will want to spend time in, filled with characters who aren’t necessarily sympathetic but are always fully human.
An adventurous, deeply moral tale with all the trappings of high fantasy.