Those who forget the past are destined to be haunted by it. The people of Fellein have lived with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn’t stop the occasional expedition into their fringes in search of any trace of the ancients who once lived there… and oft-rumoured riches.
Captain Merros Dulver is the first in many lifetimes to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges and encounter, at last, the half-forgotten race who live there. And it would appear that they were expecting him.
As he returns home, bringing an entourage of the strangers with him, he starts to wonder whether his discovery has been such a good thing. For the gods of this lost race are the gods of war, and their memories of that far-off cataclysm have not faded.
George R.R. Martin fans willing to settle for a less sophisticated plotline may enjoy this well-written epic fantasy series kickoff. Merros Dulver, a retired military man, has accepted a paid mission to explore the hostile Blasted Lands north of his home kingdom, Fellein, and reach the mountains known as the Seven Forges. After over two months in perpetual twilight, Dulver s expedition comes under attack from horrific beasts. The group is saved only by the intervention of Drask, a mysterious stranger from the Seven Forges who sports a silver hand and makes short work of the creatures. Dulver is dumfounded to learn that Drask s people, the Sa ba Taalor, had been awaiting him specifically, as a means of opening diplomatic relations with the emperor of Fellein. Moore does a nice job of depicting the initial, tentative contacts between the two civilizations, but most of the real action happens toward the end, serving to set up the sequel rather than offering a real resolution.
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