Friday, 5 June 2009
FANTASY REVIEW: The Dog of the North - Tim Stretton
It is winter on the lawless plains of the Emmenrule. En route to her wedding in the fortified city of Croad, the beautiful Lady Isola is kidnapped. What is worse, her captor is the infamous Beauceron. But, ruthless as he may be, Beauceron is no ordinary brigand: it is his life's ambition to capture Croad itself - and he will stop at nothing to achieve it. Mondia, though, is a continent of many stories, and in Croad, a young man named Arren has been taken under the wing of the city's ruler, Lord Thaume. Although of low birth, Arren is destined to become a knight of valour and renown. But as his fortunes rise, so those of his childhood friend Eilla fall. Beauceron has returned with his human plunder to his home - the exquisite frozen city of Mettingloom. There, the imperious Isola finds herself reassessing her former loyalties as she struggles to adapt to her new life. Beauceron, meanwhile, is manoeuvring to raise an army. He is determined to defeat his enemies, both inside and outside Mettingloom - and to capture the city he loathes. But what is the source of Beauceron's obsession with Croad? Can Arren reconcile his youthful ambitions with his growing feelings for Eilla? And just who is the Dog of the North? Tim Stretton's debut novel is a spellbinding tale of loyalty and betrayal, homeland and exile, set in a brilliantly imagined world of political intrigue, sorcery, and warfare on an epic scale.
Originally released as a self publication this novel has been re-released by Tor UK. As such it's an interesting tale with similar prose as the writing of David Gemmell in certain scenes. A tale of revenge with well written combat sequences along with politicking that will leave you wondering if our modern day equivalent has been dumbed down. Ideal characterisations along with a world of intrigue that tie's up a tale that whilst formulaic to a certain degree is entertaining with the hack and slash of battlefield combat there is also the refinement of a duelling epee's.