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A Demonically Great Read

March 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 183

Dark Solus is one of the deadliest assassins on Earth. Like Batman, Dark's parents have been murdered; unlike Batman, Dark's parents weren't murdered by a street thug but by an evil wizard, Kalifen, and the ruthless leaders of the guilds of the Assassins, Thieves, and Halflings. Why would anyone want them murdered? Perhaps it's because his mom was a witch, and his father's name was Demon, and they stood opposed to Kalifen and the guilds. His grandfather, the shape-shifting dragon named Mephistopheles, aids Dark as he plans his revenge against everyone responsible for his parents' deaths. That, in a nutshell, is the plot of the brilliant dark science fiction fantasy novel Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale by debut author David Andrew Crawford.

The novel opens with a bang. In the exciting first chapter, we read about Dark's origin story, of how his pregnant mother and his father, Demon, are being pursued by statues who magically come to life. Though Kalifen and the other conspirators fail in this attempt to murder Dark's parents, he eventually succeeds. This chapter I thought was a good way to open the novel, as it gives us background information about Dark while it also entrances the reader with great fight and chase scenes.

The action and suspense doesn't let up from there. Dark is aided in his goal of revenge by the training he receives from the Styg, the warden of the Stygian depths, and his grandfather, Mephistopheles, who, as I mentioned, is a dragon. Dark is transformed into one of the greatest assassins who ever lived, and he is armed with an array of deadly weapons and his mother's skills at witchcraft and knowledge of the dark arts.

After twelve long years of training and education in the dark arts, Dark travels to the City of Duergar, to confront his enemies in their very home territory. It's a long time for one to plan his revenge, but for Dark, that makes the eventual destruction of his enemies all the sweeter! However, as his grandfather explains to him, Dark must "equip yourself with powerful magical items." The problem is that no one seems to know what the items are, nor who has control over them-that is, except the Norn, the "three sisters of fate." Dark must first obtain the Horn of the Norns from the Island of Turning. Easier said than done, as it's defended by "the Harpy Sisters," and the Norn are pretty creepy, in their own right.

With the knowledge that his grandfather provides him, Dark-who dubs himself "Demon Raider," naming himself in honor of his parents-embarks on the dangerous quest to locate the magical items he will need to defeat his enemies. His journey is fraught with adventures and danger, and even with the help of his grandfather, the magical items he recovers, and the training he's received from the Styg, there's no guarantee that he will be able to defeat and destroy his many enemies.

If you enjoy reading Sword & Sorcery novels, Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale by David Andrew Crawford is a book you'll definitely want to add to your Must Read lists. The novel is set in a place and a time when the boundaries between our world and reality and that of the kingdoms of Faerie were not rigidly in place. Crawford vividly depicts the world and time the novel takes place in, showing formidable skills as a world-builder. I look forward to reading more from David in the future, and I highly recommend Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale to anyone who is a fan of dark fantasy novels.

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb for

Source: EzineArticles
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