Kerry Orchard treats us to a delightful and enchanting new fantasy experience in her first major publication, The Thoughtmaster's Conduit.
Set in a mythical pre-history, filled with dragons and magic, this refreshingly original tale follows the trials and tribulations of its reluctant hero, Rhan of Waterside. Unjustly incarcerated for an understandable crime of passion, Rhan serves his sentence with his left hand tied painfully behind his back to prevent him from practising his wizard sorcery.
Eventually emancipated from the hardship and cruelty of the salt mines, Rhan finds himself embroiled in an unearthly battle with a race of un-dead aliens trying to conquer his world. This struggle between the Da'lesh and Daha'et unfolds into a remarkably well-written tale of betrayal, magic and mayhem, filled with many pages of eloquent prose and colourful descriptions.
The Thoughtmaster's Conduit is a fascinating blend of Science Fiction and Fantasy, captivating the reader with a unique retelling of the time-honoured struggle between the forces of evil and the unyielding hearts of goodness.
As this story unfolds to its spellbinding climax, Ms. Orchard builds the tension and excitement effectively, as she takes her lavish yet flawed characters on a perilous journey through the Forests of the Dead, and beyond, leaving the reader hungering for more of this fascinating world and its inhabitants.
This novel is a wonderful example of the plethora of new talent challenging the long-held thrones of the genre's grand masters, and as such, I highly recommend it!
Reviewed by Neil Cladingboel
Author of 'The Erebus Equilibrium' trilogy.
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