Science fiction and fantasy
Storms of Vengeance
by John Beachem
Meanwhile we follow the fortunes of the assassin Durayl and his team, as they escape northwards from Terne. On first impressions he and his group seem to be the villains of the piece, a collection of outcasts and rogues who kill people without compunction. But the more we learn about them, the more our assumptions are turned on their head.
Although the king is softly-spoken, Faranin is under a repressive regime, with strict curfews in the cities. Magic is outlawed, and those able to use it, known as the marked, are singled out for the harshest persecution. The further we delve into this world, the more vivid are the horrors that we encounter.
John Beachem has created a world populated with a host of different races that bring a sense of the alien to this story. The elves, ogres, lizardmen, and various other races are not the kind of cuddly quasi-humans that you find in more comforting fantasy. The elves in particular are an enigma. Hated, feared, and considered to be forest demons by many of the humans, they are a race of outsiders. But are these deadly creatures little better than the wild animals many people believe them to be, incapable of language or culture, or is there much more to them?
The author has a good grasp of suspense. Intelligent plotting combined with lifelike characters will leave you always wondering what will happen next, and who is behind it all. There's a sense throughout this novel of impending threat, of something around the corner that's more terrifying than anything that has come before, and our expectations are not disappointed. But the suspense is not the only thing that makes this a compulsive page-turner. Beachem has succeeded in creating an epic cast of believable characters who demand our sympathy and attention from the start.
The ending of Storms of Vengeance is more of a beginning, answering a few questions but leaving more mysteries to be solved in the rest of The Lorradda Stone series. Yet Beachem's writing is so intense and compelling and his imagination so rich that fans of epic fantasy will be left gasping for more.
The only problem with Storms of Vengeance is a noticeable lack of proofreading. Frequent typos make what would otherwise be a top-notch work of fiction less enjoyable to read.
If you like this, try:Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings
The second book in the Belgariad follows Garion on his adventures in the kingdoms of the west.
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
In the first book in The Belgariad a young man, Garion, sets out on a journey that will help him uncover his true identity.
Bridge of Souls by Fiona McIntosh
The final instalment of The Quickening.
Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about John Beachem