The Prince Jionathan is plagued by visions of death. With the King on his death-bed, and the tyrannical Queen in power, the Kingdom of Harmatia lies in peril. Fleeing the city in fear of his life, Jionathan is shadowed by Rufus Merle, a young, secretive magi tasked with bringing him home. Now, with the help of a fearsome sidhe warrior named Fae, they must traverse a dangerous faerie-wood together. Against bandits, faeries and cursed priestesses, these unlikely friends travel a path fraught with danger, not least from the blood-thirsty Night Patrol and the dark conspiracy that shrouds them.
Art by the amazing Peter Brockhammer.
BACK COPY – Prince Jionathan is plagued by visions of death. With the king on his deathbed, and the tyrannical queen in power, the Kingdom of Harmatia lies in peril. Fleeing the city in fear of his life, Jionathan is shadowed by Rufus Merle, a young, secretive magi tasked with bringing him home.
Now, with the help of a fearsome sidhe warrior named Fae, they traverse a dangerous faerie-wood together. Against bandits, faeries and cursed priestesses, these unlikely friends travel a path fraught with danger and a dark conspiracy that shrouds them.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Pantheon is a delight from cover to cover. A wonderfully drawn recreation of the Egyptian myths, Hamish Steele approaches the story with a vibrant enthusiasm that brings all the characters to life. Loyal to the original tale, the comic is witty and humorous, and stands (in my opinion) as one of the best retelling of this ancient (and very often forgotten) story.
There is nothing I don’t like about this comic. From the charming drawing, to the well formulated story-telling, to the progressive and engaging pace of the plot, Pantheon has you hooked from the beginning.
With a handy key at the back, and with each character designed very uniquely, it is easy to keep track of who is who (something which can sometimes prove difficult with stories based on mythology.). The hours of dedicated research are clear from the get-go, but Steele has a refreshing way of reworking it into a easily accessible story, even making fun of some of the more ridiculous or convoluted parts of the myth.
Informative and engaging, please note parents that this is not a good book to introduce to your kids. Tastefully graphic, Pantheon has several violent moments, a sex scene and contains…sort-of bestiality/incest at one point too… Needless to say, not for children, but definitely something for adults to have a giggle at.
As for the quality of the book itself; it’s beautifully bound, with a colored front-cover, and sturdy black and white pages on the inside; so nice and durable with clear lines and drawings.
I cannot recommend Pantheon enough to anybody. It is a joy from start to finish, with several real ‘laugh out loud’ moments, and a wonderfully thoughtful ending. Definitely something I’ll be reading over and over.
Rufus Merle, from The Harmatia Cycle – www.harmatiacycle.com
In my upcoming book ‘The Sons of Thestian’ the Night Patrol present as one of three offensive enemies the main characters must face. The Night Patrol is a sector of the Magi with the unique ability to transform into creatures of nightmare, and is lead by Arlen Zachary, Rufus’ brothering apprentice.
At Zachary’s side, his closest friend Marcel Hathely, acts as his second in command. Marcel brings with him too an apprentice, Emeric Fold. Together, these three are the most skilled and ferocious in the Night Patrol. Despite this reputation however, they do not always present as the powerful warriors they are. Emeric and Marcel tend to shadow Zachary in his day-to-day business.
Above: (Left) Marcel Hathely, (Bottom, lounged) Arlen Zachary, (Back, Right) Emeric Fold.
To find out more about the world at its characters, check out my book website at www.harmatiacycle.com
The Sons of Thestian, book one of The Harmatia Cycle is being released in the US and on Kindle world-wide this November. Having just seen the final front-cover design I am very excited to be moving into the last stage of the publishing process. By next month the front cover will be revealed, and I will be publishing (on here) a series of short-stories set in the Harmatia Cycle universe, in order to give readers a taste of the characters and a small slice of the world they live in. These will be filed under the tag #HarmatiaShorts.
I will also soon be releasing a book trailer, which will be available here, on tumblr, twitter, facebook and youtube.
To find out more about The Harmatia Cycle and The Sons of Thestian, check out my website at www.harmatiacycle.com
The main character in my upcoming trilogy The Harmatia Cycle, Rufus is a mathematical and magical genius. Low-born, but with a thirst for knowledge, he broke into the Royal archives (-forbidden to all by the King’s Magi) at fifteen in order to pursue his love of learning. When he was discovered there, after almost two years of secret studying, the Magi were so impressed by his wealth of understanding and ability, that rather than imprison him, they welcomed him into their ranks…
At seventeen he was the youngest, and first low-born Magi to have ever been apprenticed in Harmatia.
For more about The Harmatia Cycle, check out my website at http://www.harmatiacycle.com
Artwork © Madeleine Vaughan
Now, I am usually first inline when it comes to writing scathing book reviews. I have very little patience for novels that don’t keep up a certain pace, or possess an interesting narrative voice. Which is why when it comes to actually writing book reviews, I either do it to release the pent-up anger at wasting my time on drivel, or because I have enjoyed a piece of fiction so much that I feel it merits recognition.
They say never judge a book by it’s cover, but that is exactly what we all do and that’s exactly how publishers’ sell the merchandise. So looking at the cover of For Whom the Bell Tolls, it stands to reason that I might be somewhat dubious of the content. (Not it’s quality mind, but it’s intended audience.) Initially the typography is certainly attractive and reminiscent of the content, though the catch-phrase didn’t inspire me immediately. Added with ‘generic’ hooded figure, and you think you have a basic idea of where this story is going to go. (Eg – follow some whiney teenage vampire through the ages as he struggles with the darkness within him, and the potential to do good.)
Wrong. So very, very wrong. For Whom The Bell Tolls is a precise, masterful and engaging piece of work. A thrilling page-turner with very real characters, this is an age-old tale told like you’ve never heard it before!
The new craze of ‘teenage vampire angst’ had made me so fearful of ever picking up a book with the ‘vampire’ concept ever again that when I started ‘The Dracula Chronicles’, I did so tremulously. Within the first two paragraphs I knew that I had picked up something that was so beyond my expectation, I struggled to put it down.
There is no teenage angst here, only the ancient tale of the war between heaven and earth, personified in a unique, historical setting. For Whom The Bell Tolls draws on historical fact, mythology and religion all at once to create a masterful construction that will have you anxiously turning the page.
A dynamic, richly dimensional story, this book does not sacrifice pace for detail, with O’Neill effortlessly joining the two in a rich text. If I had one complaint, it would be the occasional modern word which appears in the description, but that it’s itself is a weak objection as it does nothing to the quality of the text and the engagement for the reader.
The story follows the tale of two men, Vlad and Andrei, half-brothers who will in turn become the champions of Good and Evil. And yet, the story begins with them as young boys, privy to human emotions, petty sibling rivalry and childish stubbornness as slowly they become exposed to the cruel world around them and begin to exhibit wondrous powers.
This tale takes no sides and is as much an examination into the human condition, as it is an action-packed origin story of two brothers’ who will battle over the fate of all humankind.
This goes on Madeleine’s 5/5 Book-Shelf.