A Dead Wizard’s Dream – Ross Hughes

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*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

 

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Blurb:  An afterlife under threat. A reborn Prophet in peril.

A ragtag band of faithful Knights, grumpy Nomads, mad Wizards and corrupt Corsairs on a death-defying quest to rescue him. Will swords and sorcery prove enough?

A Dwarvic city buried in the desert, the site of an ancient tyranny. Mutants and Demons abound.

The dead walk again.

And the God of the Nether waits patiently for all the souls to be his …

The year is 311 AC. Welcome to Maradoum.

 

 

There is a lot going on in this action-packed swords and sorcery fantasy, packed with dwarves, monster rats, zombies, demons, knights, wizards, nomads, pirates and elves.

The early chapters read similarly to an RPG fantasy game, as the brave team of miscellaneous adventurers fight their way down through layer after layer of increasingly tough enemies in search of their mythical prize.

Meanwhile, alternating chapters tell a different story, of Prince Saul and his journey to manhood, and kinghood, through various lessons and trials.  Then there is also an Aladdin-esque storyline about a young Prince and Princess sent into the dangers of the slums by their Sultan father, under the influence of a snakelike adviser, but aided by a ‘street-rat’ urchin.

Finally there is the thread that follows Nighan Witchson, unfortunate enough to be born with magic in an ignorant backwater where he is persecuted for his differences and becomes the perfect example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The story flicks between these multiple, separate plots, in a way that is a little confusing at first, but once you get to grips with the characters you begin to see the places where the threads run parallel, or begin to converge, and the story becomes more complex but clearer to follow.

In an interesting twist on the good vs. evil struggle, the ‘hell’ in this storyworld is god-made (the Nethers), but the ‘heaven’ is man- (or elf-) made, Citta Pacia, and so the classic fight to claim virtuous souls is muddied by the potential for human error and the corruption of power and influence on the human psyche.

There is plenty of action, gore and magic splashing around between the myriad characters and diverging plot threads, making this a fast-paced read.  It is also the first in a series, and therefore ends on a semi-cliffhanger ready to lead into the next instalment.

This is not a quick, easy read, but one for fans of epic sword-and-sorcery sagas to really get their teeth into!

 

 

   She did not know why there was such opposition to the Sisterhood’s rule; the system had always treated her well.  Although there were occasional food shortages, executions, imprisonments and disappearances, the Sisterhood – called Witches by the irreverent – kept the population safe from disease and outside harm.  Best of all, they promised that, as long as the people followed their rules to the letter in life, the Sisters would welcome them with open arms when they died into the afterlife that Convent had created, the paradise named Citta Pacia, where they could live in bliss forever.

– Ross Hughes, A Dead Wizard’s Dream

 

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Find more from Ross Hughes at his website here, or follow him on Facebook and Goodreads.

A Dead Wizard’s Dream is available on Amazon right now!

 

 

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