Advent of Darkness
by Gary Caplan
reviewed by Caroline Blaha-Black
"Long ago, when this world was young, after the Eternals creating the multiverse, the Erradans returned to the key world of Illumaril. Then the lords of Errada were united. They created many of the beasts and races that still exist on this world, and when it was their time, the Erradans awoke those first races of Illumaril from their sleep."
John Gideon, an archeology student from Earth, has an encounter with a robed stranger while returning home one evening and is unwillingly transported to Illumaril, a world totally different from Earth, where magic reigns supreme. In utter disbelief, he meets other creatures and races there, such as elves, dwarves, ancient wizards and mages, and many others. Helped by a Tauri wizard called Ragan, the robed stranger who met Gideon on Earth, Ragan teaches Gideon all he needs to know about this new world, and the role he will eventually play in defeating the ancient enemy, Dormas, along with leagues of dark elves, the Valharri, and their evil cohorts. Gideon and Ragan, with their dwarf friends and elves Gil, Glade, and Cordlyer, embark on a journey and have many adventures, like battling the evil Unlife in the Misty Marshes, on their way to the healing pools of Tetherin, where Gideon needs to heal his injuries. He eventually finds out that he has elven origins, and that an unnamed elf woman sent him to the orphanage on Earth when he was a baby.
The book is brilliantly written and runs in the vein of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. There are many references in the text to Tolkien's stories, and the adventures of Gideon, the wizard, the elves, and the dwarfs seem to take a similar approach to the hero's journey in The Hobbit. Here and there, the author intersperses the text with simple, black and white illustrations of the characters. This book is not to be read in one sitting, and similarly to Tolkien's books, it is a complex adventure with many characters and key players. There is a small dose of humor, that usually comes from Gideon himself, as he tries to get his footing in this new world and develop a budding romance with Laurelin Leaflock, an elven lady knight of the Order of the Horn. This is a great book for lovers of Tolkien, fantasy books, and great adventures.