Elfhunter is the first of the tales of Alterra, The World That Is. It concerns the quest of an unlikely pair of heroines, Gaelen and Nelwyn, who are Wood-elves of the Greatwood Forest. They are hunter-scouts in the realm of King Ri-Aruin, and they have sworn to protect their woodland home, but they are drawn into a quest to defend all the Elves of Alterra as they seek to destroy the 'Elfhunter', a monstrous entity intent on exterminating the Elves until none remain. Along the way, Gaelen and Nelwyn are joined by other interesting characters as they make their way through the realms of Alterra in pursuit of the Elfhunter, whose true name is 'Gorgon'. What headstrong Gaelen and her gentle cousin do not know is that Gorgon is in league with the Dark Power, and that the forces of Evil have forged an entanglement between Gorgon and Gaelen herself. Now she and all she loves are in jeopardy, and only an inspired plan put forth by Orogond, a mortal man, can save her.
This Christmas I received an Amazon Kindle. Keen to try it out I stumbled upon this first book in the Elfhunter trilogy for the great download price of 74p. Well worth a try for that price. Besides that it also was the winner of the 2008 Reviewer's Choice Award: 'Best Fantasy'; 2009 'Best Series'.
Elfhunter is the first book in C S Mark's Tales of Alterra, The World That Is trilogy. Two female Elf hunter scouts, Gaelen and Nelwyn, Wood-elves of the Greatwood, stumble upon dead mutilated elves whilst out hunting in the Greatwood. The elves have been brutally murdered by an unknown but powerful creature. There task is simple – to track down the enemy who is known as Gorgon the Elfhunter. On their quest they are joined by Galador the elf, Oragond the human ranger, and Fima the Dwarf amongst others. It is a quest which will eventually lead to the Dark Power and the forces of evil.
In the introduction to this book the author makes no bones about being inspired by the great LOTR. Well this book certainly draws inspiration from LOTR. There are a few similarities, Oragond the Ranger, a ring, a love interest between a female elf and a ranger plus a few others. However, once you get past this homage to Tolkien, this turns out to be an enjoyable start to the Elfhunter trilogy.
It starts off at a frenetic pace as the hunter becomes hunted and after a hundred pages or so the story really starts to grip as we become acquainted with all the characters. C S Marks has created a vibrant and enchanting world in which these vivid characters inhabit. There are some familiar characters in this mix, although it is the female elf leads, Gaelen, Nelwyn plus the Ranger Oragond who really drive the story and narrative forward. It is a thoroughly entertaining read and one which leaves you wanting more. I will certainly be downloading the concluding parts of this trilogy and I am keen to find out how this tale pans out.
Review by Allan Fisher
Eric from United States
I give this book a solid 7, even though there are some faults with the editing, at least on the Kindle version. The characters are well-rounded and stay in character. The main character, Gaelen, has a fire burning, driving her quest to destroy the enemy, Gorgon. The story is a little slow in places, but the pace picks up toward the end. The second and third books are better than the first. I would give them a 9 and 8, respectively.
7.9/10 from 2 reviews