September 26

Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes

It always happens, I open my review books to find volume 2 of a series and then have to dig through the reading pile to find out if I have book 1. And in this case I did, and embarrassingly, bearing a publication date of 2010. So you may have to hunt for this book in your local bookshop, that is, if you still have a local bookshop.

This book is a real adventure fantasy, with the emphasis on adventure. Lenk, our hero, has scraped together a band of adventurers from many different races. The tale begins at sea with the pirates attacking. The battle is full on, and gradually each of the team is introduced and gets to demonstrate their individual skill and personality. None of this long explanation of setting and character, we are right into the action. Once the pirates are dispatched, it is revealed that they got away with a very important book of magic. This book must be located and regained before the gates to hell are opened and demons are released into the world. Imagine, the future of the world depending on a book! The adventurers track down the pirates, or what is left of them, to an isolated island where each of them must fight for their lives, sometimes alone and isolated from their friends.

I wasn’t really surprised to find that the author of this book was only 25, and he started writing this when he was 17. I mean an adult author would know better than to spend 200 pages on a single battle. The plot goes nowhere all that time. Then suddenly, almost magically, they are at the site of another battle and that one goes on for another couple hundred pages. There has got to be more to a book.

The publisher’s hype about this was incredible. Dropping names like Joe Abercrombie or Stephen Deas is bound to attract attention. But sorry, I think we were ripped off.

And did I race off to read volume 2? Well it came out of the review crate for a while, but now it has been packed away again.