On a research mission in one of the most remote regions of the world, former Navy SEAL Eric Slade and Dr. Anna Fayne are caught in a mysterious storm. Catapulted through a rift in space-time, they are marooned on a lost world. Struggling to survive and desperate to find a way home, they must confront the dangers of this savage land—a dark wizard and his army of undead—a warrior queen and her horde of fierce Neanderthals that stands against him—and a legendary treasure with the power to open the gateway between worlds, or to destroy them all: the Eye of the Storm.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is an intriguing science fiction / fantasy story. I really enjoyed it.
Dr. Anna Fayne is an intriguing character and I did like her. However, I felt she was under-utilised in the story and was not as developed as she could have been. She is an anthropologist working for a non-profit research and natural history organisation. When the body of a neanderthal is found in a remote area of Kyrgyzstan whilst the rescuers were searching for a plane that crashed/disappeared in the area, she finds herself on a dangerous adventure into an unknown world, along with an ex-Navy Seal and a group of other scientists.
Eric Slade is also an intriguing character. However, I didn't like him much at first. He is a typical alpha male, with a tendency towards arrogance. An ex-Navy SEAL, he is now a paranormal investigator on TV. Sent to cover the expedition into the mountains to investigate where the neanderthal came from, he finds himself trapped in a strange world where danger threatens in every corner.
I received a complimentary print copy of this book from the publisher with no expectation of a positive review.
I love reading fantasy novels, so when I was contacted about reading this book, I jumped at the chance. This story is told through the eyes of several characters. And what intriguing characters they are. Threya is the new queen of the land of Tulkoras. Kerr is a servant to Threya and is afflicted with leprosy; I really liked this character and I felt sorry for him for several reasons. Azreth is Threya's priest/dragon keeper and has his sights set on ruling Tulkoras himself. Tarquin is known as the wizard of the black sun and has the ability to control the black fire/flames that create the storm anomalies on Earth. He is an enemy of the Tulkoras people. He also has the ability to use the flames to bring the dying back to life. However, they are more like vampires (though they don't drink blood), or reanimated corpses, and become immortal.
I found this story to be an intriguing mix of science fiction and fantasy. So why the three stars? As I was reading the story, I found similarities to Jules Verne's 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth', though there were differences too. The world building was interesting and it had a mish-mash of different elements, from prehistoric animals to sword-wielding warriors and futuristic-though-long-abandoned buildings filled with technology created by the 'founders'. The black sun seems to be a portal to/from various different worlds and transports animals and people from either different worlds or dimensions, and they end up trapped on the planet. The 'founders' either abandoned the planet or were killed millennia ago, so the buildings are all that remain of them. At one point, I wasn't sure where the story was heading. However, I found myself intrigued enough to keep reading. The plot has several twists and turns that I didn't see coming, and I was taken on a roller coaster ride of emotion. There is action, adventure, danger and romance within the pages. Some of the scenes felt a little 'dry' though, especially the ones with Anna and Tarquin. I don't know if this is because they were both scientists (of a sort), so I didn't feel any connection to them. In fact, the only characters that seemed to have a connection that sparked any emotion in me was the friendship between Eric and Kerr. Eric and Threya's relationship didn't seem to have the romantic spark or even any heated passion either. I didn't feel it, even though they obviously were in lust. The ending seemed a little anti-climatic after a huge battle between Azreth and Kerr, and it left me wondering if there will be another book or not, as it concluded in a vague manner that had me feeling rather let down. Having said that, if there is another book, I would consider reading it.
Frank Cavallo has written an interesting and intriguing science fiction story. I love his fast paced writing style, and the flow was wonderful. However, I felt that his characters needed more depth to them. Some of the dialogue was a little clunky in places too. Nevertheless, I would consider reading more of his books in the future.
Although there are scenes of a sexual nature, they are not explicit and fade out. Nevertheless, I do not recommend this book to younger readers or those of a nervous disposition due to the use of violence and bloodshed that may affect some readers. I do, however, recommend this book if you love science fiction/epic fantasy. - Lynn Worton
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Frank Cavallo's latest novel "Rites of Azathoth" has just gone on sale. He is also the author of "Eye of the Storm," "The Lucifer Messiah," "The Hand of Osiris" and the Gotrek & Felix novella "Into the Valley of Death."
His work has appeared in magazines such as Another Realm, Ray Gun Revival, Every Day Fiction, Lost Souls and the Warhammer e-zine Hammer and Bolter. He was born and raised in New Jersey and now resides in Northeast Ohio.
You can visit him at www.frankcavallo.com