In Hammer’s debut fantasy novel, the first of a planned series, four 20-somethings are transported to another world, where they gain great powers and battle a dark lord.
Aspiring movie stars Adem and Jean are on a photo shoot with Adem’s friends Carl and Wil when they suddenly find themselves transported to the land of Kismeria. According to a Kismerian man named Orion Demonslayer, king of the Torvellan people, the four are in fact the Sons of Odin and the Daughter of Thor—fated to wield the Lord’s Power for the Great Battle against the Dark One of the Low Realm. The four heroes now have the power to summon Battle Angels to assist them during combat. However, the heroes’ arrival also “taints” the teron—the male Power—which now turns men evil or insane. It turns out that the taint was caused by the fact that Adem, Carl and Wil once witnessed a ghost (prior to the story’s events); Adem soon suffers from mental illness himself. The novel has a wealth of plot and spends more time relaying information than describing action, but when the action comes, it’s exhilarating—mortals and immortals face off against demons, vampires and Rahkwel (7-foot-tall goblins). Readers may find it hard to miss the influence of Dungeons & Dragons and similar role-playing games; for example, the Battle Angels summon energy from slain demons and rest when their own energy is exhausted, and they have conspicuous names such as Vampireking. Battle strategies are also formulated on a chessboardlike platform. That said, the story also provides its characters with adequate dramatic resolve: Adem and Jean fall for one another but aren’t permitted to interact since it’s not a part of their destiny; Carl has a wife and child back in his world; and Wil finds a new love. Hammer spices up the novel with catchy, if strange, phrases—the taint’s effect, for example, is described as being like “maggot-infested shadows.” The book includes accommodating maps of Kismeria and a welcome glossary.
A complex fantasy novel brimming with weird and whimsical details.