Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Azieran: Against the Drimlith : Book Review

Azieran: Against the Drimlith, by Christopher Heath

This dark fantasy novel moves at a breakneck pace.

From the synopsis
 ~ Sir Vaiden Erro is a knight of the Malkan Order, sorcerers sworn to uphold the ever-expanding mandates of the Calantian bureaucracy.

Originally assigned to guard an ambassador in a foreign land, it is through a twist of fate that Vaiden finds himself charged to help a colleague, Alix, track down and destroy the headquarters of the Drimlith Cabal—those responsible for the recent assassination of a prominent politician.

One thing I really liked about this was Heath's familiar yet unique fantasy world of Azerian. Against the Drimlith has a balance of introducing us to this fantasy world, giving us a backstory and yet never bogging the reader down. I was pulled along with the sorcerer knights, Vaiden and Alix, to discover the sinister mystery.

I had only read on short Azerian story before this - The Secret in the Mist, but Heath's writing fills you in on what you need to know and keeps the action moving. There is no ponderous convoluted worldbuilding here you are taken into the story. You smell the offal and fear the wyverns and yes, even chuckle at the orc's stupidity-because it works.

Another aspect I enjoyed was mixing of what we might view as era's. The Calantian nation Home of the Malkan Knights seems to resemble the late renaissance (albeit with French? manners and magics) while not far away Bludland is back in the grim dark ages.

We follow the Knights through a number of sinister obstacles as they hunt for the Drimilith, taunted by mysterious clues and messages from an exiled member of their order, culminating in a final showdown in the wicked Drimlith's lair.  This was my favorite part of the story and Heath has a way with words that tickles my pulp sensibilities.

I loved the finale with the Mecha Mage, Pantucci, and his help in dealing with the Lovecraftian Alien God-but I have to admit that the styling of the epilogue confused me a little since it didn't directly relate to Vaiden and Alix-it did tie into the story of Bludland and its god of the undead, Bakal, but it seemed an odd placement against the rest of the tale.

I am definitely going to read more of Heath's tales of Azerian. You can order a copy - here , here , or


Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds tres good.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Sounds very good, indeed. Adding to wishlist...

David J. West said...

Thanks guys.

Lyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyn said...

Nice review as well. BTW, I published an Azieran tale in ResAliens #5 - a dark and twisted fairy-tale like story called Lokxenthuul by Christopher Heath. Just a little shameless plug! :)

David J. West said...

Thanks Lyn, Christopher is definitely an author to watch.