Release Date: 20/03/14
An ornate yet dark fantasy, with echoes of Mervyn Peake, Robin Hobb and Jon Courtenay Grimwood. An original and beautifully imagined world, populated by unforgettable characters. Lucien de Fontein has grown up different. One of the mysterious and misshapen Orfano who appear around the Kingdom of Landfall, he is a talented fighter yet constantly lonely, tormented by his deformity, and well aware that he is a mere pawn in a political game. Ruled by an insane King and the venomous Majordomo, it is a world where corruption and decay are deeply rooted - but to a degree Lucien never dreams possible when he first discovers the plight of the 'insane' women kept in the haunting Sanatoria. Told in a continuous narrative interspersed with flashbacks we see Lucien grow up under the care of his tutors. We watch him forced through rigorous Testings, and fall in love, set against his yearning to discover where he comes from, and how his fate is tied to that of every one of the deformed Orfano in the Kingdom, and of the eerie Sanatoria itself.
With this being Den’s first full length novel (his other three releases being the Art of War Manuals for Dwarves, Elves and Orcs) I was really interested to see what he’d bring to the fore and whilst this had aspects of Jon Courtenay Grimwoods Assassini trilogy I found that it stood out upon its own two feet as we’re thrust into a strange new fantasy world that seeks to bring the readers a touch of believable history that will transport you with ease into Den’s world.
The book features a very interesting protagonist who has his illusions thrust to one side as he seeks to find his place with cracking action sequences, some wonderful turns of phrase and all round allows the reader to explore the world at their leisure. Back this up with a solid supporting cast and a few twists as the authors sleight of hand plays away in the background all round generates a tale that left me hanging for more. Great stuff