In Walker’s fantasy debut, twin brothers accidentally unleash an ancient, malevolent force upon their father’s kingdom.
On the world of Mythos, 19-year-old twins Kian’Huard and Ko’Resh are heirs to the throne of the House of Rhuna. The brothers have been enjoying the Spring Festival in the city of Kephas, and while out riding, they find a cave leading into the nearby mountain that seems to have suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Ko’Resh, the more reckless of the two, insists that the cave simply “revealed itself” and wants to explore it. Kian’Huard reminds him the mountain is home to the sacred Temple of Osiris and that trespassers may be put to death. Nonetheless, they feel strangely compelled to walk through the cavern system. When the entrance behind them closes, Kian’Huard knows that “solveige” (or dark magic) is at work. They eventually pass a stone gateway and encounter seven powerful spirits called the Sem Lukos Resh. Six of them invade Ko’Resh’s body, while the remaining one invades Kian’Huard. The brothers are missing from Kephas for four moon cycles. Then Kian’Huard, alone, meets Kri’Attole, his mentor, outside Kephas. However, when Kian’Huard’s father, Sharram Kar’Set, tries to have them both arrested, the young man realizes that he and his brother have become puppets of the horrid spirits. For this ambitious novel, Walker crafts a tale that’s heavy on graphic visuals and Eastern religious motifs. The discipline of Tae’Heb, for example, addresses “seven main power centers within the body,” like chakras, “each tuned to a frequency that supported specific functions of the body and psyche.” When Ko’Resh’s power centers are corrupted by the Sem Lukos Resh, he gains superpowers, including speed and strength. When the brothers battle, Walker’s prose is baroque in style: “Swords flashed in shafts of light...arcing explosions of electric rainbows ringing with death lust.” The narrative straddles centuries, as the villainous Sharram Saal hopes to manipulate Rhuna bloodlines to create a child that can contain the seven spirits. Unfortunately, Walker’s dry characterization makes the various players feel like mere pawns in the epic plot.
A tantalizing series opener that leaves little room for character development.