June 24, 2011

Thrall by Steven Shrewsburg

Thrall is an epic stand alone fantasy novel.

Gorias La Gaul is a warrior and a legend, some say he was born of a nephilim, and with his 700 year old plus age, one begins to wonder.  Gorias is so famous, that he runs into his own stories, some are hard-pressed to believe who he is, until they see him in action.  With two swords in hand, or a dwarf, for that matter, Gorias is an unstoppable killing machine.  Wearing a suit of dragon armor and carrying a blade of adamantine and his wits about him, there is no one with enough moxy to take down the likes of Gorias, and many try.

A hated foe of dragons, Gorias must stop a cult of Nosmada's necromancers from animating the corpse of Carlato Wyss, the only one who knows the true power behind the Daemononlatreia.  When he successfully thwarts one attempt another is being cast and a Draco-Lich is risen and he wants blood, lots of it!

In order to save Khabnur, Lady Lira Rhan enlists Gorias' help to stop the necormancers from raising Wyss, by unknowingly condemning Gorias' own grandson, Maddox.  Lira's daughter, Kayla is infatuated with Gorias and will stop at nothing to help his cause, joining his side to fight the evils that come their way. Tammas is a young bard who also joins the two, along with Maddox, the four must find out what is afoot and who the players are in the game.

General Tolin has a heart of a dragon and leads Nosmada's army, Nosmada is an evil necromancer whose age is undetermined, Zillian is Nosmada's ancient, decaying seer, Brock Lloydson, barbarian Chief of the Bellgades, looking to make his glory in all the carnage and having a great time doing so, Mitre Stillwell, a bugbear/ogre combination who is the overlord of the underground minds, where beholders and Minorcs lurk and slaves have their tongues cut out, the Leeches, who rise from the dead and suck the blood out of the living, Robyn De Balm, the evil necromantic dwarf with his own reasons for being involved and Ezran and Gavreel, two enigmatic and ethereal beings.

Everyone has their part to play and the stakes are high, will Nosmada's plans fail or will the end of the world finally prevail?

I thought the first chapter was horrible and it took me a while to get past it, the dialect was hard to read, the characters had no real purpose and everything seemed stiff, however, whence you get passed that first chapter, things begin to pick up immensely and Gorias becomes a likeable, witty, sarcastic, no holds barred kind of guy.  He doesn't mince words or hold punches, a man who says and does what he wishes. 

I found the story to be a fairly decent one, the characters came into their own as the story progressed, however, the back story was definitely lacking.  There are so many references to back story, you get almost frustrated as the book progresses and you realize that there just isn't enough book left to get the meaning from the snippets of back story that do occur.  It often leaves you with more questions than answers, and it is this reason that I found that the characters had no real direction, they always went the right way and did the right thing.  The suspense was lacking in this sense, the path was laid before you with few twists and turns until the very end.

The battle scenes are great and there are a lot of them, I found some of the techniques involved to dispose of the intended target to be entertaining and sometimes amusing!  I loved Gorias' natural fighting ability and his wit while doing so.  The ending was great, and the outcome was more than surprising and leaves you wanting for more, which I do believe will be coming for the last print of the book states..."The End?"

I would definitely continue to read the series if it were to be made into such, the story can only grow as there is so much left unattended from Thrall.  As I read, I watched Steven Shrewsbury strengthen his talent with his prose, the character building was phenomenal, however, I would pay attention to more detail on the scenery and background a bit more.  Often times I didn't realize we had switched locations, the characters involved in each setting determined where you were in the book.  I would recommend this to any fantasy readers, this will not disappoint!

Set in the mists of ancient times, Thrall tells the story of Gorias La Gaul, an aging warrior who has lived for centuries battling the monstrosities of legend and lore. It is an age when the Nephilum walk the earth, demonic forces hunger to be unleashed, and dragons still soar through the skies … living and undead.

On a journey to find one of his own blood, a young man who is caught in the shadow of necromancy, Gorias' path crosses with familiar enemies, some of whom not even death can hold bound. Thrall is gritty, dark-edged heroic fantasy in the vein of Robert E. Howard and David Gemmell. It is a maelstrom of hard-hitting action and unpredictable imagery, taking place within an incredible antediluvian world. In Gorias La Gaul, Thrall introduces an iconic new character to the realms of fantasy literature.

 ** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by me..as I see it~!! **

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