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New for 2015- By Divine Right- Patrick W. Carr

 The Darkwater Saga # 0.5 
E-book only, Bethany House 
September 1st 2015, 119 Pages
Willet Dura ekes out a living as an assistant reeve in the city of Bunard, the royal city, investigating minor and not-so-minor crimes in the poor quarter. Ever since a terrible battle, Willet's been drawn to the dead, and has an uncanny ability not only to solve their crimes, but even to know when one has been committed.

When a gifted singer is found dead in the merchants' quarter of the city, everyone assumes by the signs that the old man simply died of a stroke, but Willet's intuition tells him better. When he learns that this is the second death within the last month of one of the gifted, those with a rare inherited ability, he begins to suspect that something more is afoot, and he soon finds himself chasing a mystery that could bring down the very kingdom of Collum.

 A couple of years ago I read A Cast of Stones, the first book in this author’s original fantasy trilogy, and I was probably in the minority for not being very impressed. I just found it unrealistic in a lot of places, and the writing style rather sloppy and undeveloped. As it was a first novel, however I decided to give Mr Carr’s books another try, and purchased this prequel novella to his new trilogy.

Generally, it did not disappoint. The setting seemed generally more credible and detailed, the characters more memorable and writing much improved. Like his previous trilogy, the author takes a fairly generic medieval type fantasy setting, and gives the characters some kind of special power or ability that provides the major basis of the plot. In this story, the elements of political intrigue and a mystery were also cleverly worked in and the ‘gifts’ endowed on certain character provided an original twist.
As someone who does not do in for sword, sorcery and dragon type fantasy stories, its always good to find what I call 'human' fantasy and historical fiction that is does not go in for the unnecessary and excessive sex references that one finds in those made by so much of the mainstream media today.
Although this is usually required by most of the major Christian publishing houses anyway.

I did have a couple of issues, generally with some of the language and minor historical details. I know that some will argue that fantasy does not have to be accurate or authentic.
Yet I argue that if the setting is reminiscent of a certain historical period (even if it’s in a fictional country or place), there should be some degree of authenticity and world-building, something that transports the audience into that world, without it feeling too much like the society inhabited by the author. What is the point of fantasy otherwise?

This was a great introduction to the background, setting and characters of the full length novel. I had already  The Shock of Night on Netgalley and look forward to reading that one, hopefully later his year.


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