Tor, Feb 2009, $24.95
Way into the distrant future in the Named Lands, the city of Windwir is recognized by most as the center of world. Much of that proclamation comes from the city being home to the Androfrancines, who are the keepers of the Old World knowledge in their Great Library; a place where science and magic mingle. This is a normal day until a metal bird flies above the city. Soon afterward darkness engulfs Windwir. When the dust settles and the sun shines through, the city is gone; left behind is a scorched plain.
Nothing will be the same inside the Named Lands from that moment when the Old World metallic weapon quoting Xhum Y'zir's Seven Cacophonic Deaths destroyed the city. Stunned warrior Lord Rudolfo of the Ninefold Forest Houses saw from a distance the smoke that is all that is left of Windwir. He heads there immediately and finds a shocked survivor apprentice Isaak sitting where the city was moments earlier sputtering references from the Seven Cacophonic Deaths; he had been just outside when the devastation occurred. The kingdoms blame each other and maneuver to take advantage of the dramatic change in relationships. Increasingly evidence points to the Entrolusian City States Overseer Sethbert as the culprit. He apparently has brought back the ancient weapons of mass destruction as war threatens to send the Named Lands back to the Stone Age.
The first Psalms of Isaak is an excellent epic fantasy that in many ways is a post apocalyptic science fiction thriller. The story line is fast-paced from the incredibly opening sequence and filled with intriguing twists that never quite allows the reader to gently peruse the plot. The world seems plausible and solid enough while the key players Isaak and Rodolfo are well developed so readers get to know them.. Fans will relish Ken Sholes’ strong opening act as war engulfs the Named Lands while mindful of nineteenth century novelist Alphonse Karr’s commentary “The more things change, the more they are the same”.