Fast Forward Book Review for June 2009
by Danny Birt
Saginaw, Tx. : Ancient Tomes Press, 2008
by Colleen R. Cahill
There are plenty of fantasy novels that are formulaic, fitting into a well known pattern, such as the seemingly unimportant young person becomes the savior of the world. What author Danny Birt strives for in Ending an Ending from Ancient Tomes Press is something that is clearly an epic fantasy, but one that steps outside the expected. There is warning of this in his author#39;s note, where he clearly states: "If this is your first fantasy novel ever, GO NO FURTHER". The first book of the Laurian pentology, this work is definitely different, being a quest novel that also goes off the beaten path.
Imagine you awaken in a forest, no memories of where you came from, not even the ability to talk, but with a feeling of purpose. This is the opening of Ending an Ending, as a strange man stumbles onto a group of adventurers. And this group definitely has a purpose, as all are Seren who are directly connected to a god or goddess. They are, of course, suspicious of this stranger and only become more so as he not only learns to talk in days, but carries an unusual staff that is magicial, but like none they have seen before. Under the theory that he could also be a Seren, Sanct (named for the "indefinable sanctity about him") is allowed to join the group on their mission to take down a rogue mage. But it is not easy dealing with a person who has to have terms like "existence" explained to him.
The world we enter in Ending an Ending at first seems an average fantasy story, with gods, warriors, elves, mages and such. But there are differences. The world here is a flat square resting on a lake of lava that only divine power keeps from destruction. One great problem is that magic has been weakening for many years, leading to theories that the world is coming to an end. Unlike some works, there is no legend or path to save the world, but some feel the ending is coming too soon. The story has plenty of odd and seemingly unconnected events, such as a Sanct waking from a mystic Sleep only to meet one of the party of adventurers he stumbled across in the woods, but this is now centuries later. There are others whose memories are missing, including a orphaned Princess, who shows a strange attraction to a young man who speaks nothing but gibberish.
You will note I mention few characters from this work, but that is more because there are many and they all are equally intriguing. The author is correct in that this is a work for those who have read other fantasies and are seeking something that keeps the wonder but goes down a new path. It is certainly a good start and I am looking forward to the future volumes, as Ending an Ending is a great beginning.