Saturday, December 22, 2007

Seekers of the Chalice-Brian Cullen

Seekers of the Chalice
Brian Cullen
Tor, Feb 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9780765314734

The Chalice of Fire was given to Cucullen, champion of the Red Branch in Ulster and as long as it stayed there, the province would know peace and prosperity. Boorish braggart Bricriu Poisontongue is detested by everyone for his caustic tounge so when he fell into manure everyone enjoyed a laugh at his expense. Outraged and arrogant, he vowed vengeance. He stole the sacred Chalice intending to give it to malevolent wizard Maliman who along with his magical minions was recently freed from incarceration in the Great Prism because the seven seals that bound him were broken.

Only the just can drink from the Chalice and gain immortality except for Maliman whose powers are so great he can use the Chalice to forge Earthworld into his evil image. In Otherworld where immortals and gods live, the immortal Cumc,, son of Cucullen, is asked to find the Chalice although that means going to Earthworld making him vulnerable. He accepts the quest and takes his father’s magical sword with him. Along the way he has five people join his journey and become known on two realms as the Seekers of the Chalice.

Talk about no rest for the weary; almost in every step (seemingly almost every page) of their travels, the Seekers have to fight Maliman’s minions and other evil beings. Their experiences on the road forge them into a tight band focused on a single purpose to recover the Chalice. They fight together against anyone trying to prevent their achieving their objective. This epic high fantasy is the sub-genre at its best as Brian Cullen effortlessly provides a top rate historical fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

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