Saturday, July 22, 2023

Official Book Review: The Gathering Storm, Book One of David Doersch's Chronicles of the Raven

I just finished The Gathering Storm, Book One of David Doersch's Chronicles of the Raven and, as the author requested, now give it an Official Book Review.

We all have hobbies we are passionate about, and two of mine are reading/writing Fantasy and studying the lore, myths, and Druidic mysteries of the ancient Celts. Yet interestingly those passions have seldom if ever blended, meaning that I have no true experience reading Celtic Fantasy.

But there is a first time for everything, so my first sojourn into this sub-genre of the Fantastic is the island-continent of Daffyd, from the highland villages of the Green Mount to the cold lakes and cities of the Kingdom of Lachland. Distant lands that hold at least two things in common, their fierce independence and an invasion by the savage yet unquestionably cunning Barbárs hordes and their sadistic Angor blood-shaman allies. Yet this is no straightforward tale of good versus evil, or, if it is, then it is as much against the evil hiding in plain sight and under the white mantle of nobility as it is against blood mad barbarians. For as the tale marches forward so too do complex plots, plans within plans, emerge as varying enemies with different agendas join in alliance against the highland and Lachlanders. Thus too do three parallel stories take shape: one of the highlanders Corvus Corax, called the Raven, along with his sons and longtime friend Yazid; one of the wastrel Princess Darienne, Queen Isador, and Captain Zach of the Lanchland; and a third of the Aslene mystics Mama Warad and her three votaries from the distant deserts of the Silken Emperor whose mission carries the fates of all.

A very readable book, emotional, fast-paced and with some of the most finally executed battle scenes I have ever read, what makes David Doersch's Chronicles of the Raven stick out is his attention to detail. Each character, even the secondary and bellow ones, is well-rounded and each culture distinct and based upon real-world ones. Being knowledgeable of the old lore myself, as well as a Black Belt in Northern Longfist style Kung Fu, I can say with full confidence that Doersch captures the spiritual essence of the Celtic lands, and I especially appreciated Aslene martial arts and mysticism whose forms remind me of my own Kung Fu training.

The battle cry goes out as swords are drawn… "Protect the Tor!"

(P.S. If you, dear reader, are an author/publisher and reading this review makes you want to ask me for a review too then PLEASE read my Contact Me? page.)

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