The image of a dream is the only wealth we’ll ever have.”
Through a series of complex and entertaining novels a host of engaging characters collaborate and compete with each other to spread the dream of "she-haios", the Fair Land.
This is fantasy with teeth, for adults of all ages.
Somewhere along the line where human nature meets human imagination, myths are created. Somewhere in that space lives the spirit that created and sustains Shehaios, the Fair Land.
One man embodies the spirit. A man all too susceptible to the human flaws which lie beneath the cloak of magic.
The journey of self-discovery for Kierce, heir to the Lord High Magician, and Caras, heir to the Chief of Oreath, is inextricably bound up with the history of their land. A history and a magic which may be lost forever, swamped beneath the dominant Empire of the Sacred Union, unless they and their people can devise a means of survival.
Cloak of Magic is a highly readable fantasy history populated with great characters and political intrigue. Life, love, sex, battles and adventures – its growing readership agree it has everything a good book needs.
“The land of Shehaios is alluring on so many levels… I gradually came
to understand the mystique of the Spirit of Shehaios and just what
that fully means through the eyes of it's inhabitants.” Jackie Guarini, GoodReads.com
“I've been reading fantasy since I was first reading & it's hard to find a new world & book that is engaging. This is one of the few.” James MacLachlan, GoodReads.com
Kierce so rarely misjudged an animal, Caras found it reassuringly human that he could still get it wrong. Even his horse edged back from him in disbelief, throwing up his head and curling his top lip at the appalling stench that accompanied his master.
“I can do without comments from you,” muttered Kierce, swinging himself onto the horse’s back. “That’s the last time I invite a dragon to dinner.”
They turned away from the feeding dragon, Caras shaking with laughter.
Kierce regarded him with some chagrin.
“Careful, Caras. Anyone might think you were starting to enjoy the journey.”
Caras shook his head.
“It’s too long since we’ve done this.”
“Speak for yourself.”
“I was,” Caras admitted. “Nothing like the threat of being eaten to make you appreciate being alive.”
“So long as you’re not a deer.”
“Or a dragon," added Caras, reflectively and then, in answer to Kierce's wry look, “wake up, gorge yourself on whatever falls over in front of you and go back to sleep again? Not much of a life, is it?”
“And foul breath to go with it. No Caras, when you put it like that, it isn’t much of a life!”
Cloak of Magic is an impressive debut novel; a book of satisfying depth featuring characters worthy of empathy and a story that weaves and turns in a way conducive to the heightening and retaining of the reader’s interest. You will find that the best fantasy novels are always strong on characterisation and this is certainly the case here. Central to the story is Kierce, heir to the Lord High Magician and a charismatic, yet flawed man. He contains hidden power and the destiny of the land he loves will rest on how he can harness that power. Strong supporting players surround Kierce; there is his childhood friend Caras, a rock of a man, trustworthy, loyal and single minded. King Rainur, the King's wife Cathva, the Imperial Commander Hiren and Orlii complete an impressive list of memorable characters that the reader will find easily identifiable.
“Caras liked his way through life clearly marked, and changes to come at a measured pace. The worst disruption to his world so far had been the loss of his parents to a fever epidemic when he had barely attained adulthood, and that was a grief shared by many other in the Holding.”
Cloak of Magic: Chapter 12 – Arhaios
The characters constantly evolve as the story progresses, some go from unpleasant to likeable and then right back to unpleasant again. These are, as has already been mentioned, very well built characters that are described skilfully using a third person narrative that allows the reader to experience their inner thoughts and emotions.
The setting of Shehaios and the Empire are described in vibrant detail, the Empire being reminiscent in places of Rome in its pomp. The author's love of history and folklore shine through and help produce and refreshing and involving story that can be favourably compared to Gemmell and Feist.
This is the first book in a series. The foundations set within Cloak of Magic are solid and have left ample room for growth. Sometimes, after having read the first book in a series, there is a sense of obligation to read the entire series to completion less the time and effort invested be wasted. This is not the case with Cloak of Magic; you find that you actually WANT to find out what happens to these characters that now have a life of their own. Highly recommended for fans of epic fantasy and sword and sorcery books.
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