Across The Face Of The World
Orbit, Jan 2008, $7.99
In a remote small village in the Kingdom of Faltha, teenager Leith lives with his mother Indrett and his crippled brother Hal. Mahnum, his father, has not been home for over two years. To their initial pleasant surprise, Mahnum comes home only to tell his wife and two children that he just escaped form two years of imprisonment and they must travel to the capital Instruere to warn the king. He explains that neighboring Dhauria led by the alleged Undying Man infamously known as the Destroyer has begun his nefarious scheme to avenge his exile from Dona Mihst by the Most High with an invasion of Faltha.
However, before they can begin their journey, warriors abduct Indrett and Mahnum before burning down their home with the two children inside. However the village chieftain Haufuth saves the lads and arranges for everyone to assume they died in the inferno. The trio meets with elderly farmer Kurr to discuss whether to rescue the parents or warn the king. Hal insists the rescue is the way to go because kidnapping a Dharia warrior to take with them to the capital is the proof they need to convince the throne. Stella a female teen joins the heroic group as they begin their quest.
This is a quest book but quite different in many ways than most fantasy sagas as much of the tale occurs on the mundane plane rather than the otherworldly realm. Readers will feel they are part of the traveling team as the vivid descriptions of the geography are some of the best around although the pace is slower than most quest thrillers as Russell Kirkpatrick insures realism supersedes non stop action. Each of the prime cast members especially the teens are fully developed and show signs of maturing change during the trek. The first book in The Fire of Heaven trilogy is a fascinating opening gamut that sets the stage for the rest of the saga. .