|Submitted by Sean|
(May 26, 2000)
Well, first I will tell you that I love fantasy novels. Within this genre I have noticed that there are specicific types of fantasy. There is historical fantasy, pure fantasy, military fantasy and then specific fantasies.
"What is this guy talking about?" I am sure you are asking yourselves. Well, perhaps if I define a few of these "genres within genres" for you. (Mainly because I made some up from my own opinions). Specific fantasies are what I think of when authors choose to write only on a section of fantasy. I.e. In the book ORCS FIRST BLOOD, (book one in the series by Stan Nichlls). It focuses only on the perspective of the main characters, the Orcs. It showed the view of Orcs, and Orcs only. This is a cool way of writing a book.
Pure fiction is my own thought really. I got the term after doing a school book report on TIME OF THE TWINS (a book by Margaret Wies and Tracy Hickman from the Fragon Lanc series). The book is all about magic and warriors and clerics interacting and all the different mind sets of each individual class bouncing off each other. It focuses on the characters struggles with each other and their overall goal. In truth, I started reading fantasy when I read the Dragons of Autmn Twilight series and continued to look for the Dragon Lance series.
In fact, it was not until when I had decided I wished to create a novel of my own did I turn to concentrate on such added details as politics in a novel. (I wanted mine to be a story of war and politics). So, I went looking for a fantasy with "politics" in it.
I was lucky that I stumbled across "The Jackal of Nar" John Marcos first novel. I got so engrossed in the story of Richius Vantran and Dyanna that I continue to this day to be a fan of the growing series.
SO! Enough babble! Onto the review of: THE GRAND DESIGN.
The book kept me away from my homework for weeks. I had the book with me in every class in the school day, pulling it out and reading it every time the teacher let us do free class work. When I got home, I went up to my room, where I promptly read more. I was about three fourths of the way through the book before I relized I was about three days late for five projects. That was how engrossing it was. The books theme was quite heavilly based on revenge for events taken place in the first book.
The story is about a man named Richius Vantran. Or, Jackal, to most who knw him. He lives with the light haired, light skinned Trinn. A race who he once fought against when he was on the side of the Black Renaissance, led by Tharn, the emperor. He is now in exile for abandoning Tharn. Tharn is now dead and his right hand man, Count Renato Biagio blames Richius for his beloved emperors death. The death of Tharn has left his throne empty and Nar, the Black Renaissance's black city without a ruler. Count Biagio now faced with the death of the emperor must flee Bishop Herrith, who has taken control of the throne.
The Grand Design is well named. For the whole book is about the grand design of Biagio and his plans to take back the throne, kill the bishop and all loyal to him as well as exact revenge on his nemesis, Richius. Biagio does this by getting his Roshann agent, Simon Darquis to steal Richius's baby, Shani. The Roshann is a powerful organization cotrolled by Biagio and Simon is loyal to Renato. Plus, if Simon completes this dark task, Biagio will allow him to marry the one he loves. (Something Roshann are not permitted to do).
And while this happenes, Biagio breaks the bishop into coming to Biagios homeland, where Biagio is hiding. Biagio has set an elaborate trap for the bishop once he gets there however.
Richius also agrees to take revenge on Biagio as well as the rest of Nar and helps Liss, another country at war with Nar, by preparing an invasion. There are way to many things in this novel to explain and not go through the entire book and ruin all the twists, but it was extremly well written with characters that are very real and amazingly planned out. I give this book a ten out of ten for it's superb plot and creativity.
I can only rant at how good it is, but you must take the time to read it yourself. I guarantee you your time will not be wasted. Although, I do suggest that you read the first book before this one.