||February 4, 2010
Morgeth's iron grip on the land of Ilyria is spreading beyond its borders; his necromancy is beginning to rip apart the very fabric that binds Alatheia together and the only thing that stands in the way of total domination is an ancient elven prophecy.
Inheriting his mother's sword, Eran must journey far from his idyllic farm life to find the ring that once belonged to his father and unite the two heirlooms in order to destroy the evil that threatens to engulf Ilyria. He joins with others ordained by the prophecy; a legendary warrior, a shape-shifting mage, an elf haunted by his own past and two rather unlikely individuals. Together they face insurmountable obstacles and tragedy before coming face to face with evil itself.
Dune Elliot: A New Age of Fantasy Fiction
They urged their horses on, faster and faster, hooves merely a blur beneath them. They had to stay ahead, maintain a distance. Spurs flashed in the moonlight, sending shards of silver into the night and disappearing into the deep forest surrounding them. Four pairs of legs willingly carried their masters with as much speed as they could muster, despite the weariness edging its way into their lean muscles. The riders' mounts were built for such endurance, but even they could not run forever.
A ruthless sounding horn blasted a hole in the quiet night; the valkyries were gaining on them. The distance between them was closing at a rate that could not be matched by any human, elf or horse. The lights from welcoming houses glinted in the distance. They were a league hence and spurred their horses onward. The horses blew streams of white frosted air into the night with every breath; every step counted here.
They pulled up short, having undetectably passed all the dimly lit houses in the town. A dark-cloaked man mounted upon a silver white horse waited patiently in the middle of the Rathos Firth. His face was not visible behind his hood, and without hesitation the child carried in the embrace of a fair-headed elven maiden was placed in his arms. They could only hope to chance, luck and fate that they had chosen true. Without a word, the stranger turned his horse into the current and flew upstream away from the two riders.
Their eyes met, and as another horn blasted behind them they urged their horses forward through the foaming water toward the far side. If they could only keep these foul creatures on their trail for a few more leagues, before they finally had to turn and fight. Their horses lurched up the damp earth along the side of the Rathos Firth and charged into the inky night. Hooves struck against the stones that covered the ground, scattering showers of damp earth into the night. Leagues flew by and the moon passed overhead as the creatures closed the gap. They reached a small clearing surrounded by gnarled oak trees. Pulling their horses to a sliding stop at the far side they dismounted and turned loose their courageous steeds. They were prepared for battle.
The horn blasted again and a grey-black mass tumbled through the clearing's far edge. The valkyries were an army amassed for one thing...to kill and destroy. They were an army of demon soldiers. The valkyries were hideous beings; lean and tall, without a single hair on their ash gray bodies. Their eyes were milky white as though they were blind, but instead were large and depthless pools of soul-less malevolence. They had small human-like ears with a sharp hooked and pointed nose that jutted from the front of their faces. Thin-lipped sneers revealed small barbed teeth. They wore chain-linked armor over slate gray tunics which only served to emphasize their empty eyes, and carried roughly crafted short swords at their waists. Broad shields with a large crest upon it; a red-eyed crow's head crossed by two swords, were held up by muscled arms, and maces were swung wildly above their heads in anticipation of blood-shed.
The elf readied her bow and nocked an arrow, training it upon the dark shape of a valkyrie. Her flaxen hair was held in place by a pearl circlet, away from her elegant and refined face, revealing slightly pointed ears and the faint blue outline of a dragon's eye behind the left. It was the mark of an elf. She was slight in size but this belied her true abilities in battle. At her side she carried a long and slender elven blade, built for speed and strength. It was light to wield but deadly to all those it touched. Etched along its center were elvish runes. Her bow was of the finest elven craftsmanship and a quiver of skillfully made arrows hung across her back. Her robe was of silk and she wore a slim silver and leather belt at her waist to carry her sword.
The man wrapped a stout hand around the gilded hilt of his own blade and drew it from its leather sheath. He was muscular and lean with a dark mass of hair flowing to his shoulders. His eyes shone blue even in the dark night as though he were seeing the ocean from somewhere in his mind. On his hand he bore a ring, a silver and gold band garnished with elven script engraved both inside and out, and crowned with the symbol of a red sun upon it. His clothing was simple and raw; that of a simple peasant. The same faint red sun which was found on his ring was also found behind his right ear and gave away who he was. It was the mark of a leader of men, through blood, not war.
He nodded at the elf, their eyes catching each other for a brief second as she released her arrow and whispered "Sii fila nomentu (Fly without mercy)".
The arrow shot straight and true towards the ignorant valkyries. It struck the temple of one, driving deep into his skull; he did not have time to make a sound. He hit the ground and a red glow built around him, throbbing and pulsating. The valkyries withdrew in fear but did not move far, staring from their fallen comrade to the elf, who had already nocked another arrow, and back again.
Again she released the arrow, this time without a sound, and pierced the heart of the red orb that had grown from the pulsating light. It shattered and shards flew into the hearts and skulls, legs and arms of the valkyries. No sound but the guttural gurgling of the dying and wounded interrupted the night. The man who stood alert and aware beside the elf, sword drawn in readiness for battle, looked neither surprised nor affected by the display of power.
Something snapped eerily behind them but before either could turn to face the new enemy, a voice dripping with a sense of evil so rhythmic it was alluring, spoke three words, "Il nekra gordeak (Bind their essence)."
Neither the elf nor her companion could move; they were bound as if with ropes. These bindings were not of twine or hemp but of magic origin and they did not simply restrain the bodies of the elf and man. She thought through the words needed to break the bonds but found that the curse also bound her memory. She could not break the invisible barrier around them.
Zoruna, for that was his name and the elf knew it as surely as her own though she had never laid eyes upon him, stepped from the cloaking darkness of the trees. He was not man, dwarf or elf kind. Neither was he a valkyrie, although he held some sway over them it seemed. He was one of the Darklings; a secretive race who dwelt in the deepest recesses of the mountains of Ascaroth and were bound by black magic.
His face was white but did not reflect the silver light from the stars or moon; instead it had a translucent, death-like quality about it. His hair was of the same color as his face but had the texture of the finest spider silk; it barely existed. His faint and shallow set eyes were black with hints of writhing flames revealing the demon within. All that the elf could see of his garb was a flowing red robe which reached below his feet, brushing the ground with each step he took. The rise of the robe to his left side was evidence of a sword, heavy and well worn. She knew this sword, for tales of it and its master plagued even elvish stories of the past. Its name was Karuth and many men, elves and gnomes had fallen beneath it.
Zoruna was flanked by four other individuals of similar features and garb. Although they were of smaller stature they instilled no less fear in those that stood, or lay before them. Despite the success against the valkyries, the she-elf and man felt all hope draining from their hearts.
"Where is the child?" A grating and penetrating voice came from Zoruna. "Tell me and I will spare your lives."
They knew he lied; he would never release them alive, no matter the content of their speech. The elf bowed her head but the man by her side closed his eyes and said, "I will tell you only this. You have followed us like dogs for many days, and over many leagues, but we are without the child. He perished within days of our departure from Caervasa and we have been in flight for the safety of our own lives and no more."
"You lie," growled Zoruna, and he raised his sword. The man and elf bowed their heads, knowing they would never see their son grow. The elf struggled through her memories. She grabbed desperately onto the magic she needed while she fought Zoruna's invisible restraints, and uttered four elvish words, "Sumen noreth fi andu (Veil out of sight)." As Karuth fell, the elf's sword and the man's ring disappeared into the night, and man and elf knew no more.
Her name was Gith'rael Rohallion, the daughter of the Lord of Elves.
His name was Gannon Sunweaver, the son of Marden; deceased King of Ilyria.
Seventeen years were to pass before the son of Gith'rael and Gannon would learn his destiny, before the prophecies of old were
to be fulfilled.
Not bringing much knowledge of the specific genre of adventure fantasy to my reading of Necromancer perhaps qualifies my judgement, but there is no doubt that this quest written by Dune Elliot is a page turner. The conflict between good and evil is effectively dramatised with characters on the side of good who demonstrate to us how muddled and difficult good can be in the conflict with a single-minded force of evil. I am reminded of how certain 20th century authors, albeit from different fictional genres, develop characters who struggle with the concept of good. Here I am thinking of Murdoch, O'Brien, Oates, etc. Too, Dune Elliot brings an array of specific knowledge (horses, landscape) that enhances the difficult and dramatic journey of the 'hero' and his intriguing band of supporters. Simply put I would like to read more from this author.
Mary Adair, author of 'Passion's Vision'
The land of Ilyria is bruised and dying under the growing evil power of Morgeth. And the evil is spreading. All of Alatheia is in danger. As you read Necromancer you slip into a world of magic and mystery, both good and evil, that only a master storyteller could weave. Expertly woven into the tapestry of Alatheia is a small band of would-be heroes. Bound together by prophecy, held together by love for their land and each other they will set out to save their world. Their journey is not easy, and there are those in the band that will pay the ultimate price, but they will not falter in their quest to rid their home of the evil Necromancer.
I loved this story. It contains everything a true believer in fantasy could want. The pages come alive with the quest and keep the reader enthralled right to the end. And like any true believer in fantasy I can hardly wait for book two. In my opinion, Dune Elliot is a true storyteller. I look forward to reading many more of Mr. Elliot's novels.
On a scale of one to five stars, I give Necromancer a strong five stars.
Every great fantasy novel must contain certain elements. It needs great warriors. It needs reluctant heroes, it needs evil so great that it threatens to destroy the fabric of the world it longs to control. It needs fantastic, majestic and disturbing creatures. It needs to bring the reader into its world. But first and foremost, is need to be a great story.
While his epic contains each of those elements, what sets Dune Elliot's Necromancer apart from its contemporaries is in the depth of both his worlds and his characters. His settings are described in such detail that I don't believe a Higher Being could envision creating them more majestically. His characters beg to be explored to exacting detail, and he provides it.
Morgeth is growing more powerful by the day. He will soon be strong enough to destroy all Alatheia. Like it or not, Eran must fulfill his destiny. With Caradoc, a man's warrior, and a host of amazing characters, they must stop Morgeth. Along the way, they encounter terrible beasts, deathly obstacles, and, thankfully, their fair share of allies.
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