Terra Incognita: Book One

Those of you familiar with my reviews you will have spotted the fact that I have a penchant for telling stories. And I feel obliged to tell the story of how I came to review this book. Several weeks ago a PR firm contacted me and asked me to review a new prog rock album, it was by a band that I was not familiar with, Roswell Six. I love prog so I said sure thing fire it over. I loved the album, and inquired if a representative of the band might be interested in doing a radio interview.

I was some what surprised when the name Shawn Gordon was suggested. Shawn is the owner of ProkRock records, the label that the CD is on. Looking on the CD slip cover he is credited with the title Executive Producer. Some digging around revealed that Roswell Six was a one off band, created solely for this project, a rock opera based on a book by Kevin Anderson.

You can imagine my surprise when in the middle of the radio interview Kevin himself dialed into the show! From speaking with Kevin I just knew that I had to read this book. Kevin graciously sent me a signed copy.

Science fantasy is not one of my favorite genres, I refer to them as Fluff and Fairy books. Well there is nothing Fluff or Fairy about The Edge Of The World. This is a great read. A story set in some indeterminate age that concerns two waring continents Tierra and Uraba. And just like the real world the cause of the war has its roots in religion. Both peoples share the same beliefs as to their origin and their god Ondin, but for there on in they interpret the ensuing events very differently.

Each continent has a deep distrust of the other, though there is some amount of trading that goes on. About the the only place where they coexist in an uneasy truce is the holy city of Ishalem. A fire in the holy city though reduces it to burning embers and is the cause of renewed and virulent hostilities.

Both continents are seafaring nations with a quest for knowledge and riches. The ancient holy manuscripts they have tell of exotic far away lands, and the quest is to find these new sources of wealth and power.

The scope of Kevin Anderson’s book is huge, it is in the truest sense of the word a saga. It covers a period in excess of a decade, and he weaves characters in and out of the action with a seamlessness of a magician. Kevin is no beginner in the book world, it is estimated that some 20 million copies of his books are floating around, and as a consequence his writing shows a very high degree of professionalism.

The character development is excellent, he paints them so vividly that you can see them in your minds eye. And by keeping the fantasy aspect minimalistic, the odd sea serpent, and a tiny bit of ‘sympathetic’ magic, he has created a most believable backdrop for the events to unfold.

The Edge Of The World is the first of a planned trilogy of books in the Terra Incognita series, and I will be eagerly awaiting to read them.

I was recently talking to Kevin Anderson and I am hoping that we will be doing an interview with him very soon. You can pick up your copy of The Edge Of The World at better book stores everywhere or order it from Amazon by clicking on the icons above. In fact while you are at it pick up a copy of the album as well. Read the part I of the book (79 pages) then listen to the opening track Ishalem and discover what a fabulous job Shawn Gordon and Kevin Anderson have done to bring this novel to music.

Simon Barrett

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