Friday, June 29, 2012
BlackThorn, DeWayne M Kunkel
Today I am reviewing BlackThorn by DeWayne M. Kunkel. It is book one in a series, Chronicles of the Dark Sword.
The tale begins with fifteen year old Cassius's village being attacked and overrun by raiders. He is taken captive, with the intent he will be sold as a slave. Now held captive at sea, and tormented by Grel'g, the leader of his captors, the journey begins to go awry; the weather takes a terrible turn and Cassius escapes just as he is about to be sacrificed to apease the sea gods; wounding Grel'g in the process. He seeks safety in the home of Carl and Winowa, who nurse him back to health and help him get to safety, with their nephew,Gayn; a scribe.
It turns out Grel'g's raiders were not randomly pillaging and plundering - they were eliminating a percieved threat for the evil enchanter Vool, who is less than pleased to discover one young boy has escaped. Telling him that he may have brought about the very thing Vool sought to avert, Grel'g is set back on the hunt for Cassius. B'jorn, Grel'g's overlord fears Vool and fear's Vool's Master even more; realizing he has doomed his people to a dark fate by casting his lot with Vool.
Cassius grows to manhood in the shop of Gayn the scribe, learning to love the craft. After 2 years, a job opportunity comes up that Gayn cannot fulfil as his wife is with child, but Cassius is more than willing to undertake it. He travels by caravan, journeying to the far city of Elkrum. One night they are joined by a traveling minstrel who tells them there is trouble stirring in the north. Once he arrives in Elkrum and delivers the contract, he is once again confronted by Grel'g. This time the confrontation is averted by the intervention of one Connell Malkor, known as the Eagle of Kesh.
Evil is afoot; ensnaring Cassius, and Connell. Eventually they meet Marcos; a man who is much more than a man. He needs a swordsman, and wishes to hire Connell. Marcos is seeking a talisman which was lost in antiquity. As if things hadn't been interesting enough at to this point, things really become involved. Magic, myth and legend are now entwined in Cassius and Connell's fate. The Evil of antiquity, Sur'kar stirs once again, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
This book is well plotted, and the characters are fully fleshed - the reader sees what they see and feels what they feel. Cassius's adventures are both terrifying and engrossing. Kunkel has written a true classic in this tale. The one complaint I have is it is definitely not a stand-alone book. Still, I couldn't wait to get the second installment in the series! And as the author has priced the Kindle editions at .99 it is easy to afford them!