James Clemen’s with his Wit’ch books, the Chronicles of the Banned and the Banished, and the first two books of the Godslayer Chronicles pushed himself high on my list of favorite author’s very quickly.
That he can’t be bothered to go back to an unfinished series now his mainstream adventure fiction novels are doing well is so disappointing.
In a genre fit to bursting with divine wars and magic Knights, Clemens walks familiar territory with the first book in his new series Godslayer. But, with a deft hand, he weaves a tale that has far more originality than is at first apparent.
In the world of Myrillia, the gods walk amongst men. 4,000 years ago, the Heavens were Sundered during the War of the Gods and they fell to the earth. Binding themselves to the land to offset the madness that was falling upon them, the Gods are confined to the kingdoms they have chosen, or which have sprung up around them and have brought peace and prosperity to mankind. They have taught their Hands – men and women specially trained to serve them – how to harvest the humours of their bodies (Blood, Masculine Seed/Female Menses, Sweat, Tears, Saliva, Phlegm, Yellow Bile and Black Bile) and trained Alchemists make of these humours Blessings that, when applied to either a mortal or inanimate object, instil that human, or object with ‘Grace’.
Among the Graced are the Shadowknights of Tashijan, a military order whose knights are the most sought-after guards, bodyguards and couriers in the world. Tylar de Noche is a disgraced Shadowknight. Betrayed by those he held dearest, he has been stripped of his Grace and had his body broken by a sentence of five years amongst the slave pits and gladiatorial circuses. Trying to hide away and forget his past life in the small realm of the Summering Isles, he is caught up in intrigue and darkness when he comes to the aid of a woman being pursued through the city’s dark alleys. Arriving too late to offer her help, he comforts her in her final moments, only to discover that the woman is Meeryn, the Goddess of the Isles. With her dying breath, Meeryn gifts, or curses, Tylar with untold Grace and charges him to find Rivenscryr.
Apprehended by her late-arriving guards, Tylar is charged with slaying a god. Discovering the terrible Grace that Meeryn has bestowed upon him, Tylar manages to escapes a fate worse than the torture of the slaves pits and sets out on a desperate quest to find out who had the power to kill a Goddess and to uncover the mystery of Rivenscryr; a journey that will lead him back to the Citadel of Tashijan and the women whose testimony had him cast out of the Order five years before, the woman he loved, and into corruption hiding in the heart of the First Land itself.
Clemens skilfully weaves various characters and storylines together creating a fast-paced page-turner. Unafraid to explore the darker aspects of human nature some scenes will make you squirm, yet they hold that inexplicable attraction similar to being unable to turn away from viewing an accident scene. Shadow Fall is fantastic. I highly recommend it!