Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Review: Lamentation by Ken Scholes
The city of Windwir is home to the Androfrancine order, a semi-religious group that attempts to discover and preserve knowledge from lost times. The Order doles out the knowledge they feel the world is ready for and this coupled with their massive library has made Windwir the center of the Named Lands. This changes instantly when the city is utterly destroyed by an ancient spell throwing the Named Lands into turmoil. The sole survivor of the catastrophe is a young apprentice of the order Nebios, who awaited his father on the outskirts of the city. Watching everything he knows destroyed will change the young man forever. Forces throughout the named lands converge on the ruins of the city. Sethbert, the Overseer of the Entrolusian City states, arrives first. Sethbert claims responsibility for the catastrophe and plans to use it to dominate the named lands. With him is his consort Lady Jin Li Tam, who acts as a spy for her father who undoubtedly has plans of his own. Hot on their heels is Rudolfo, general and prince of the wandering army, who is determined to see that justice is done. Petronus, a former pope of the order who faked his own death, also realizes that the destruction means he will have to come out of hiding.
Scholes divides each chapter into short point of view scenes from multiple characters. This enabled the author to set a steady pace throughout. The characters themselves are well realized with varying and interesting motivations. The concept of having a major disaster and then having the characters react to it is an original and interesting one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
There were only two minor issues that could have been improved. The author is so focused on the political machinations that we never get to witness a major battle in the ensuing war. The ending was slightly rushed as well with some things falling too neatly into place for my taste.
Overall a solid debut from Scholes. Interesting concept and excellent world building. 8/10.