The Age of Man has begun. Gone are the elves and dwarves, orcs and trolls, and other creatures of legend. Having driven the "undesirables" from their lands, the kingdoms of the island continent of Pentania have started a new chapter in human history. The gods are a myth, magic is a forsaken art, and the avatars, shepherds of the races, have faded into the mists of time. Now, mankind will rule. But they are not alone.
When the king of Alson is assassinated and the capital besieged by a nefarious wizard, even the remote village of Diln is not immune from the chaos and terror that sweep the realm. Torn from his home, young Jarom begins a dangerous journey to ask for aid against the implacable usurper.
But soon the machinations of a mysterious council lead Jarom to a seemingly preordained quest: to find one of the mythical Swords of Asahiel, the divine talismans used by the elven avatars in the forging of the earth itself. He must do so not only to establish himself as a leader for his people, but to help save a fledgling, quarrelsome mankind. For the Demon Queen Spithaera has awakened from the Abyss, and humanity is about to learn how very powerless it can be against the ancient terrors of the world.
And whether real or imagined, destiny is not so easily claimed.
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After washing out as a college quarterback, Eldon Thompson returned to his first love, writing. Unfortunately, he's found wrestling plots and characters to be every bit as rough—though with less physical bruising. The author of The Crimson Sword and The Obsidian Key, he splits his time between the Oregon coast and Southern California.From Publishers Weekly:
Marred by wooden prose and lethargic pacing, Thompson's earnest fantasy debut, the first of a trilogy, tries hard to follow in Tolkien's and Terry Brooks's footsteps (Brooks provides a blurb), but only half succeeds. The story opens with a promising air of mystery with the murder of King Sorl, the despotic ruler of Alson, one of the several kingdoms of Petania. The assassin, known only as the Shadow, was hired by Soric, Sorl's disinherited older son, now an evil wizard intent on claiming his birthright. The widowed Queen Ellebe seeks out her younger son, Torin, who's been living for 19 years as Jarom, a mere mushroom farmer's son, unaware of his royal heritage. Once he recovers from the shock of learning he's really a prince, Jarom/Torin resolves to overthrow Soric, an effort that will involve him in a quest for a legendary sword. This kindhearted book employs all the familiar fantasy tropes—elven folk, dragons, demons, a fair lady—but unfortunately Prince Torin's vanilla personality is about as exciting as a hobbit without a ring. The more interesting Shadow vanishes too quickly and appears later only rarely. Hopefully, the next installment will have more bite.
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