The Walkers of Legend by Miles Allen
|The Walkers of Legend by Miles Allen|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Enjoyable first book in a planned series with genuinely interesting and disparate characters and an exciting, twisty-turny plot after a slightly slow start. Recommended to all fans of quest fantasy.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: May 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
The Empire controls nine-tenths of the globe, but even this doesn't supply enough victims to keep enough blood flowing from the Yan-producing chambers. And so the new Emperor sets about a plan to invade the last remaining free lands. Advance parties are abducting mages to leave the defenders exposed and vulnerable. This is nothing new - it's an obvious tactic - but among the refugees is Chayne, a young man of startling power and promise. Chayne's potential is soon discovered by the advancing army's chief mage, Lathashal, and the young Mlendrian finds himself a favoured apprentice.
Inconceivable to Lathashal, a purveyor of every known vice, Chayne is a man of loyalty and integrity, not tempted by power or wealth. And so he begins to try to unravel the Empire's labyrinthine politics in an attempt to thwart the invasion. But despite Chayne's good intentions, can he ever hope to defeat his powerful Master?
Luckily, Chayne isn't alone. His loyal friend Garamon, a young woodsman, refuses to accept the loss of the young mage and sets out to rescue him. Along the way, he gathers around him a band of disparate but courageous companions: warrior tribesmen, a cat-demon, a mountain ranger, and a rogueish bandit.
As the invasion grows closer, it's a race against time both for Chayne and his would-be rescuers...
After a slightly slow start, The Walkers of Legend develops into a thoroughly satisfying fantasy quest. Although the characters generally represent well-trodden roles in fantasy novels - the naive hero, the dark lord, the giant fighter, the warrior princess, the morally ambiguous rogue - they are all well-rounded and I became quite fond of them all in the end. There's quite a bit of well-realised magic and I particularly liked a trapped demon MacGuffin device that Allen uses to great effect. Once the book really gets into full swing, the various plot strands converge at a good pace and Allen maintains tension very well - you really feel the net closing in both on the heroes and the villains.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Walkers of Legend. If pushed, I would say there's a bit too much telling and not quite enough showing. And the copy-editor in me noticed a few too many proofing errors; these could do with tidying away. But mostly, I'd certainly be more than happy to read the second book in the series. And that's the main thing.
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