Friday, 7 February 2014

Rob Bayliss reviews Plague Seed

Plague Seed - Book One of The Plague Fall Trilogy by Wade Alan Steele
Reviewed by Rob Bayliss

See below for details on the prize draw

The Plague Seed is a high fantasy novel for both young adults and the not so young. Put it this way: if you spent your formative years immersed in fantasy role playing games, killing orcs and trolls, (hands up, I admit that I’m guilty!) then you will thoroughly enjoy this rollercoaster of pure escapism.

Welcome to Western Talandria: a world shared by men, some civilised and some savage cannibals, drunken dwarves and aloof elves. The book is written as a letter written by an elf to his infant son. The epistle chronicles the history of he Plague War from the perspective of one of its heroes, an exiled elf of many names. We are introduced to him as Seligre, the Firebrand, posing as a merchant, attempting to mingle with the patrons in a high-end den of ill repute, in the mountain town of Colton’s End. It becomes clear in a brawl that Seligre is no mere merchant; he is a member of the Sword of Silence, a criminal guild centred in the nearby town of Dentim. In a local establishment he becomes enamoured by a beautiful human dancer called Katelyn. Katelyn is no mere dancer however; she is the wife of Raymuz, the headman of Colton’s End.

Raymuz mistakes Seligre for Dockra, Katelyn’s one-time elf lover, and orders his arrest. Katelyn and Seligre escape Raymuz's men and team up with Tahlkin the dwarf, an ale-brewing priest of the drunken deity, Rold.

As the companions desperately evade capture, or worse, all hell is breaking loose at Colton’s End. Gathering in the Faylin Mountains, a great northern army is composed of disaffected humans, goblins and lumbering troll like creatures, the Grumach. Raymuz is in league with the army bent on conquering Talandria. Carrying a message from Dokra to the High Council of Elves, Katelyn hires Seligre to take her to the Blessed Forest of Oldenhome to the south. Oldenhome is the impregnable homeland of the elves, where they live in splendid isolation from the troubles of those they view as lesser folk. Tahlkin joins them in their journey south, as Colton’s End is no longer the place to open a temple of Rold and sell beer, and the roads are now dangerous to travel alone.

They journey south but there are enemies everywhere, not only Raymuz’s men but also the one time friends of Seligre’s old guild. Treachery abounds across Talandria as the lands yield to the great northern army. Only Oldenhome stands untouched, as aloof as ever. Facing many dangers Seligre and Katelyn eventually become lovers. As the companions draw closer to Seligre’s homeland we learn of the reasons for his banishment from Oldenhome, and his true name, Drayvus Varden, a one-time Knight of the Blessed Forest.

With more of the tale to be told there will be no happy ever after for Seligre and Katelyn, as Oldenhome is forced to interact with the outside world. In an interesting twist we see that all is not as it appeared to be. Seligre has unwittingly become a conduit to bring about the downfall of the Blessed Forest.

A consummate Dungeon Master, the author has done a fine job in creating a world with different races, deities and mythologies. The dialogue is refreshingly modern, at times humorous but not overly vulgar, and I really enjoyed the descriptive prose and turn of phrase that Mr Steele has written. I look forward to reacquainting myself with Seligre/Drayvus in the continuing history of the Plague War.

Now then, what to do until Book Two is released; I wonder if I still have those old twenty-sided dice?

Plague Seed is available as an ebook on Amazon.

This review was written by Rob Bayliss. Rob is currently working on his Flint and Steel, Fire and Shadow fantasy series. Part One, The Sun Shard is out on Kindle.

 If you would like Rob or any of the Review Group team to review your book, please check out the submissions tab above.

Wade Alan Steele is also offering an ebook copy of Plague Seed to one lucky draw winner! To get your name in the hat for a FREE ebook, simply comment on the blog below. 

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  1. What a fun review, Rob, I love it!

  2. Fabulously well written review Rob. Very proud to have you on the team

  3. My absolute pleasure Paula. Wade has done a stirling job in creating distinct cultures for the different races. He is a very talented fantasy writer.

  4. Great review, definitely going high up on the 'to read' list!