Monday, July 7, 2014
recent read: Seven Forges
Seven Forges is the opening novel salvo of what promises to be a large, rollicking dark fantasy series from James A. Moore. Moore has experience as a horror writer and this is his first published fantasy work.
In the novel's opening, we are introduced to Merros Dulver, a mercenary and former soldier who has undertaken a commission to explore the Blasted Lands - a scary wasteland north of the Fellein Empire. His mission comes at the behest of not only his emperor, but also his emperor's sorcerer/advisor. Things get complicated when Dulver makes contact with an unknown/lost race, the Sa'la Taalor; and they know him by name. Uncomfortably thrust into role of semi-ambassador, Dulver is soon embroiled in politics and cultural honor. The Sa'la Taalor are large, scary and the most efficient, violent warriors Dulver (or any Fellein citizen) have ever encountered. To have them as enemies instead of allies would spell certain destruction for the Fellein Empire.
The book spreads its vines and roots as Moore brings various characters into play, and sets up many questions - some which are teasingly not answered in this opening volume. While there is a bit of lack of martial action in the second act, the story does move forward as Moore explores and explains various cultures and characters. It is groundwork laying for the entire series, and I didn't really mind it because it was not presented as info dump. Moore kept me interested with exploring the world he has created.
The third act kicked everything up a notch, establishing some riveting suspense and by the novel's end, we are left with some large, breathtaking cliffhangers - including the opening of war.
I really enjoyed this novel. Moore deftly arranges all his story elements to keep the reader engaged straight through the tale. The cliffhangers work - I am eager to start reading the sequel, The Blasted Lands, shortly.