I am long in the tooth, I was pretty certain I had seen it all. I know several authors that have written trilogies. It makes good sense, you can develop a character once, and re-use him or her. Stephen Prange has set out on an ambitious quest, an 8 book series. That takes intestinal fortitude ‘GUTS’! To add a level of complexity to the equation, these books are not 100 page novellas. A Blade Of Dark Ebony clocks in at 360 pages and the next in the series Black Omens is over 400 pages.
While I can not say that Fantasy is my favorite genre, I can say that Stephen Prange is an exceptional writer. I was enthralled by A Blade Of Ebony. For a first time writer to set out on such a huge quest is amazing. If his next books are as good, this is a young man that we will be hearing about in the press.
What I most admire is the fact that while the genre is ‘fantasy’, most of the action is very human. Yes, there are mentions of ‘Nightcrawlers ‘ and ‘Shape Shifters’, but they really are just an aside to a great read.
At the center of the story is Ebon Shattar, a young warrior with more questions than answers. On returning home to Vulhalla, Ebon makes a grisly discovery, the city has been attacked, two of the many dead are his mother Kaivan and his father Luc. While most of the victims seem to be killed at random in some senseless rampage, Luc and his wife seemed to have been given some special treatment. Ebon wonders why?
There are clues, but they are obscure. His father was not just killed, but tortured, crucified on a wall using wooden pegs through his arms and legs. The unknown perpetrators of the crime had taken time to inflict pain and suffering, but had left before death had occurred.
A sign on the wall made with Luc’s hand, and with his own blood might be the starting point for Ebon.
Angered, Ebon hits the wall where his father had made the sign with his own blood. Unlike most of Vulhalla this wall is a false one. Behind it is a staircase that leads to a secret room that contains one item, A sword, but not one like Ebon had ever seen before. The metal is as black as night, there are symbols etched into it that are in no language that young Ebon has ever seen.
So begins the quest for Ebon. Where it will lead him he is unsure. Questions however do need to be answered.
Author Stephen Prange takes the reader on a journey of discovery.
There is much to enjoy in A Blade Of Dark Ebony and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the second book of the series, Black Omens.
This young man has a very bright future. What amazes me is that he is just wrapping up book eight of the series. I have nothing but admiration, take A Blade Of Dark Ebony out for a spin. I am certain that you will not be disappointed.
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