The Snowmelt River by Frank P Ryan (The Three Powers: Book 1)

9/10 Ryan is inventive, the races he peoples his strange world with are not the run of the mill.

This book tells the story of 4 orphans, Alan, Kate, Mark and Mo, who find each other in the Irish town of Clonmel, but it seems that their coming together may not have been accidental. It is suggested by Alan’s grandfather that the reason they all became orphaned may well have been at the behest of some power with the sole purpose of bringing them altogether at this time and place, what this purpose might be however and the truth of why their parents died is to be found in another world! With the aid of Alan’s grandfather, the four of them find the means of travelling from earth to the land of Tir, and all they have to protect themselves with is an ogham inscribed spear which Alan’s grandfather made and a couple of mobile phones.

I know this sounds all a bit too far-fetched even in a modern fantasy, and the author echoes our incredulity in his characters (especially the always cynical Mark-who has good cause to be so about his life), however, it is worth suspending your disbelief.

The land of Tir is a world being conquered by a dark brooding ruler who uses barbarians as his fighting force and a race of demonic, monastic type men who spread the fear of him far and wide. However, there are those who would resist but perhaps need a little push in the right direction. Opportunity arises when our 4 young earth born heroes arrive not knowing where they are or what they are really supposed to be doing there.

This is the first book in an epic fantasy. Ryan is inventive, the races he peoples his strange world with are not the run of the mill elves and orcs and the magic is more of a spiritual nature than the magic of other fantasy novels I’ve read, in this I found him reminiscent of His Dark Materials trilogy.

The enemy is a faceless presence, alien to the land of Tir, his forces are savage and vicious for the sake of it. Considering that our protagonists are children; such savagery is surprisingly brutal as some of them experience it first hand or are witness to it. The author on his website mentions Tolkien, Pullman, C.S. Lewis and Gaiman when he speaks about fantasy, here he has drawn elements that are reminiscent of all these authors and has produced a book that takes us on an fast-paced, action-packed and truly fantastical journey along the Snowmelt River. I would be willing to suspend my disbelief longer to continue the journey as there is more of this tale to be told. I have given this book 8.5 out 10.

Review by

1 positive reader review(s) for The Snowmelt River

Our interview with Frank P Ryan

Last month international bestselling author Frank P Ryan's epic fantasy series, The Three Powers, saw the publication of the third book in the quartet, The Sword of Feimhin. We thought it a great time to catch up with Fra [...]

Read interview


Frank P Ryan's The Three Powers series

The Snowmelt River

The Three Powers: Book 1

The Tower of Bones

The Three Powers: Book 2

The Sword of Feimhin

The Three Powers: Book 3

The Return of the Arinn

The Three Powers: Book 4

The Snowmelt River reader reviews

from United Kingdom


8.8/10 from 2 reviews

Write a reader review

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

The 10,000 Doors of January

Alix E Harrow

The Unspoken Name

A K Larkwood

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

Alan Garner


William Horwood

The Dark is Rising Sequence

Susan Cooper

Three Hearts and Three Lions

Poul Anderson


Susan Cooper

Crow's Revenge

Marcus Alexander

Following reviews


Ian C Esslemont

The Betrayal

Pati Nagle

Green Rider

Kristen Britain

First Rider's Call

Kristen Britain

Across the Universe

Beth Revis

The Lost Gate

Orson Scott Card

Magic Parcel: The Awakening

Frank English

Never Knew Another

JM McDermott