The Stoneholding by Mark James

Be thrown into a world of classic fantasy at supreme quality. Swordfights, Kings and Queens, many fantasy fans will be more than happy with this brilliant novel. As well as the story itself, the cover art of this novel is dazzling, unique and quite beautiful. As the saying goes, ‘never judge a book by its cover,’ but when you take one look at the front and back cover of this book, you expect and get a great story.

Amazing imagery, every little detail is described down to the very fine smell of a room, giving the reader the sense of actually being there with the characters, undertaking the perilous journeys with them. Follow the story of various characters as they battle, travel and interact in this remarkable novel. From the first chapter you will be hooked, not being able to put down the book even for the slightest moment.

Follow Galli and Kal in the main plot of this novel as they uncover a great evil that has come into the Stoneholding and that threatens the very existence of all the people living there. Uncover plots within plots, all successfully being woven into the main story; early chapters of the book come out in later chapters in the most subtle way. Read as characters find themselves in many different predicaments and then remarkably getting themselves or others out of the pickle that they are in.

With many fantasy novels it is hard at first to get a grasp on the large amounts of characters and different places some authors write about. Although this book can be quite confusing with this aspect at times, in the novel it isn’t too hard to pick up the characters or places used throughout the book. It is easier to follow the different places each character may visit with the help of the maps included in the first few pages of the book. Following the maps as the story is read and becoming familiar with the many unique places mentioned in the novel makes the journey each character may take that much easier to follow. The latter of so many different places being mentioned becomes less complex and isn’t as hard to understand as it first seems.

In this novel there is a lot going on, but sometimes in chapters throughout the book the content can be a bit dry and uneventful, but pushing on through the chapter a new complication for the character or characters does arise and keeps you reading and keeps you interested in the outcome of what happens in many different situations the characters find themselves in.

The plot itself has been developed well by the authors; (yes, there are two authors) Mark Sebanc and James G. Anderson, that have effectively collaborated to write this brilliant novel. It is a plot which enjoyably takes surprising and unpredictable twists and turns.

The authors are currently planning the next book(s) in the Talamadh (the name given to the series) and it can be confirmed that they are releasing at least one more book, ‘The Stoneholding’ being the first book in this beginning series. Together, these authors adopting the pen name of ‘Mark James’, they should be watched and all their future books read as their rise in the literary world of fantasy begins with this novel. With such raw talent, these two writers are sure to go far.

Review by Jason Damman

Note: This review is subject to copyright. This review may not be used for reproduction or other purposes unknown to the author of this review.

© 2005 Jason Damman

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