Genre: epic fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: June 1, 2015
Cover Artist: Andrea García
In the bloody height of the Dark Ages, when long ships carried Viking raiders across the waves and swords decided the fates of kingdoms, monasteries offer small pockets of civilization and learning – but Blackspire Abbey is no ordinary monastery. Located on a jagged chunk of rock off the English coast, Blackspire Abbey serves as a library for forbidden books of black magic and the occult, where heresy can be studied firsthand. Blackspire Abbey has a strange guardian -the Viking warrior known as Egil the Scarred. Egil was not born, but created by a mysterious witch who sewed the pieces of fallen Vikings into a patchwork man, and animated Egil with magic to create an unstoppable solider with war fused into his very bones. Now, Egil is trying to end his wandering and forge an new life for himself.
But danger is coming to Blackspire Abbey. Father Enrico Dori, a priest turned Satanist and author of a bloody, heretical rebellion, comes to Blackspire Abbey in chains so that he may be studied. Inquisitor Hox, a fanatic servant of God, seeks to cleanse Blackspire Abbey of heresy with Holy Fire. Viking raiders, including Egil’s former friend Ragnar Redye, seek to raid the abbey and steal its wealth. Egil’s only allies are Brother Cuthbert and Timothy Foundling, a wise monk and his apprentice, and Clare of Burgundy – a former nun turned outlaw queen sent to do penance in the abbey. They are the Defenders of Blackspire Abbey and they will stand against all foes and battle for the light of civilizations – and for their very lives.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
I found this book to be a really intriguing read. I liked Egil as a character. It was good to see the contrast between the monks’ beliefs and Egil’s own.
I would have liked a bit of background as to how Egil became the defender of the abbey. I did like reading about his interactions with the other characters. And it was really interesting to learn something of his origins… and how the forms of those taken to create him affect him.
I liked Tybern in this book, a whole lot. It was good to see that Egil seemed fond of the cat. I also liked seeing him with Timothy and Clare. I did have some mixed feelings about Cuthbert, I have to say. Even though he seemed to come across as one of the good characters, it was also like he was reluctant to do the right thing if it meant endangering himself and/or Timmy.
I found the descriptions of the demons to be utterly disturbing. Some of them really made me cringe.
I liked the fact that the supernatural did play a big part in this book… not that it couldn’t, considering Egil’s creation. But it was good to see the different types of skills… and that the monks did have the ability to bless weapons and have it work, rather than the power of prayer doing nothing.
I found Egil’s Viking friends to be quite interesting, too, especially Bjorn and Gunnhilde (I may have the spelling wrong). It was cool to see that Bjorn was a berserker and that I had the opportunity to see him access that ability… though he seemed to recognise friends/allies, which I didn’t think tended to happen.
It was good to learn bits and pieces of the Viking culture as the book went on. I was glad to see that Clare and Timothy, especially, stood up for what they knew was right. And I did also like Merrymore.
It was good to have the two short stories at the end of the book and have the opportunity to get to know the characters more. I liked seeing how Egil’s attitude changed gradually towards Cuthbert and Timothy. The second story was a lot scarier, though… not to mention fairly disturbing.
I would like to read the next book in this series in the future. I was drawn into the world and felt myself connection emotionally with the characters.
About The Author
Twenty-Four years old, Michael Panush has distinguished himself as one of Sacramento’s most promising young writers. Michael has published numerous short stories in a variety of e-zines including: AuroraWolf, Demon Minds, Fantastic Horror, Dark Fire Fiction, Aphelion, Horrorbound, Fantasy Gazetteer, Demonic Tome, Tiny Globule, and Defenestration.
He is the author of Clark Reeper Tales, his first novel. Michael began telling stories when he was only nine years old. He won first place in the Sacramento Storyteller’s Guild “Liar’s Contest” in 2002 and was a finalist in the National Youth Storytelling Olympics in in 2003. In 2005, Michael’s short story entitled, Adventures in Algebra, won first place in the annual MISFITS Writing Contest.
In 2007, Michael was selected as a California Art’s Scholar and attended the Innerspark Summer Writing Program at the CalArts Institute. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 2008 and has recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz.
Find Michael Panush Online:
About Curiosity Quills Press
Curiosity Quills Press (CQ) is a small hybrid publishing company specializing in genre fiction of the highest quality. With 150+ titles in our catalog already and approximately 6 new books coming out each month, there’s never a dull moment at CQ. We work with major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible to ensure that you, the reader, can find whatever you are looking for at your convenience.
Founded in 2011 by Eugene Teplitsky and Lisa Gus, CQ was initially a resource portal for writing and publishing, created in an effort to help writers, like themselves, survive the publishing industry. After rapid success, CQ morphed into publishing press that over time has solidified its share in the market. Now we spend our days searching for the next great escape!