Silver Mage by CM Debell
Review by Floresiensis
In the first age of Andeira, men and dragons brought together the two halves of the elemental magic of the world to create a union through which their magic, and the world, could support and renew itself.
When war broke out, that union was destroyed – deliberately severed by the ancient mages in a desperate attempt to stop their enemies. They knew the price of their actions: the dragons would disappear from Andeira until such time as it would be safe for them to return, stripping the world of half the elemental magic it needed to survive.
What the mages did not realise was that their enemies would survive the severing of the bond, threatening the prophecy created by the dragons to ensure their return in a later age. Three thousand years on, the world is slowly dying, and the dragons have been forgotten by all but a few. This is the story of one man’s search across their ancient homeland, and his desperate bid to fulfil the prophecy and bring the dragons back into the world.
Silver Mage is a complex and multi-layered story charting one man’s fate as he attempts to return dragons to his world. It is a beautifully told tale made up from all the ingredients that make fantasy so special: larger-than-life (yet realistic) characters, magic, dragons, battles, intrigue, love and betrayal. Silver Mage is epic fantasy at its best.
The book begins with a well-written prologue outlining events that occurred three thousand years prior. These events are integral to the story.
“Long ago, when Andeira was young, Tesserion, the Maker, gave her first gift to the new earth she had made. She gave the dragons, riders of the winds, children of flame. Wild and free they roamed the empty world, wielding the elemental magic that was their birth-gift, but the world was still unfinished, and their magic incomplete. Tesserion had another gift to give, another race to birth, and Men followed after and brought about the dawning of the Second Age of creation. To Men she entrusted the other half of the magic that was Andeira, the elemental power that brought forth life, that sustained it and carried it home in death.”
Silver Mage: Prologue
The main character is Aarin, a young mage, the chosen one foretold in prophecy. This is his story and we, as the reader, follow him from his traumatic childhood through to the events that will shake the very foundations of Andeira. During his quest he meets and befriends many wonderful and colourful characters; Kallis, the battle-hardened mercenary; Kinseris, the haunted yet kindly priest; Jeta, the wilful daughter of a rich merchant. All these characters are very well realised, they encourage an emotional attachment and allow the reader to understand who they are, what they are and how they are likely to react. The author's great skill is the ability to make the characters behave precisely as you would expect them to behave in any given situation. Whether it is an eight-year-old-boy, a seventy-year-old woman, a warrior or priest, Debell makes them realistic and believable. These people really do stand out from the page and take on a life of their own.
The story is written in the third person, a perspective that allows the reader to see events unfold through not only Aarin’s eyes, but those of all the major characters. This is important for a story of this size. The world of Andeira is described in excellent and vibrant detail, using contrast to great effect. The system of magic utilised in Andeira is very clearly thought out and defined; there was one chapter in particular that stood out for me, a very important chapter that saw Aarin and Kinseris pushed too far and forced to unleash their combined powers.
“Their eyes met over clasped hands. The world faded away and they were upended in a sweeping current of relentless force. Blinding light splintered their visions as sight was torn away in a tidal wave of power, but they stood untouched in the midst of the storm. No words were spoken and yet intent was established, in thought as they had done before, and the sorcery they unleashed rocked the building to its foundations, ripping apart bricks and mortar, shattering glass and bursting the wooden planks of the floors.”
Silver Mage: Chapter Sixteen
Silver Mage appears to be a real labour of love by CM Debell; the attention to detail is evident in this large book and I was highly impressed with the narrative and plot. There are two established authors that came to mind when reading Silver Mage; Robin Hobb and Guy Gavriel Kay, two names that Debell stands up well against. There is also a large battle scene that the David Gemmell would have been proud of. A magnificent debut, a brilliant book – a must for any epic fantasy lover.
Jombo from London, UK
I enjoyed reading this book. I was filled with imagination and lived within the book as I read it. Every character, every scene and every battle was vivid, interesting and full of life. I could not drop the book. I got the book from my local library and it did not contain a map of the land. I love maps of fantasy books I read, it increases my immersion. A map would have been very much appreciated but still did not diminish my imagination. Expecting to read more fom this author.
David from Sydney
A most enjoyable and well written book that deserves a wider audience. The characters the writer creates are original and the story line is wonderful. The book is written in great detail and yet the story moves fluently to the climax. The character Chandra is particuarly odious, he could well have been based upon a politician or the CEO of a financial institution. The battle scenes involving mercenaries, armies and dragons are realistic and suitably bloody. There is great humour in the book but some very sad moments involving the deaths of dragons and separation of good friends. I would recommend this book for any person and look forward to further work from this author.
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