Hemlock and the Wizard Tower (The Maker’s Fire) by B. Throwsnaill
Indy author B. Throwsnaill has written a tale that is full of great characters, fantastic adventures with a riveting plot. This was the best .99 that I have spent in a long while!
When the tale begins, Hemlock’s sister lies helplessly ill. The magic that might save her is fading. Hemlock fears that the wizards in the Tower have somehow siphoned off the magic that once infused the Warrens. Accordingly, she sets out to discover what has happened.
Using her special power to sense magic, she succeeds where no one else has and penetrates the terrible defenses of the tower. Once inside she sees many things both terrible and full of magic, and then meets Merit, a clockwork gnome who is both mechanical and magical. He answers her questions as well as he can.
She then meets a Bust (yes, a statue) that sings and enjoys rum. I have to say that is one of the more entertaining scenes I have read in a long while!
Hemlock’s mentor, Safreon goes to great lengths to help her in her quest to restore the magic to the Warrens. He enlists the help of Gwineval, a renegade wizard, and Merit also helps her in her quest to free the magic which is controlled by the Wizard’s Guild and their leader, the rather schizophrenic Falingus. One moment he is kind and compassionate and another he is consumed with the desire for power, making Falingus an interesting character. He has reasons of his own to want to keep Hemlock alive.
Hemlock’s effort to stop what she believes to be the siphoning of mana (magic energy) in the city goes awry, and she is inadvertently the cause of a dramatic reduction in the amount of mana, endangering her sister’s life.
This tale is very smoothly woven. The characters are well drawn, and the magic has both a purpose and a logical basis. The world they inhabit is clear and compelling. Hemlock’s personal growth as she changes from a rash street urchin with a cause, to a heroine is both inventive and enjoyable.
Much of the story is told in flashbacks, which I found disconcerting at first, but the story was so gripping that I stuck with it and soon they didn’t distract me. Indeed I soon began to enjoy the way the story unfolded through them.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys epic-quest-fantasy as much as I do. Throwsnaill draws from the modern literature of J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, Terry Brooks, and the myths and mythologies of many of the world's religions, without mimicking them. I think this very original tale has the potential to become a classic!