Aberthol Nauile doesn’t know that he once led legions in a war that had raged since the dawn of time, against an enemy that could not be killed. He doesn’t know that he rode on a dragon with his father, or that his mother died while giving birth to him. He doesn’t know that he once saved his great, great, great grandfather by defeating the black enemy on the slopes of a volcano.Can you imagine waking up in a tomb, not knowing who you are, where you are, or why you're there? That's how Shadow Swarm by D. Robert Pease begins.
Aberthol doesn’t know that he beheld the creation of the world, as his grandfather eight generations before took the planet, ravaged by a war of the gods, and began anew.
All he knows is that he awoke in a coffin deep within a tomb, and now the whole world thinks he is their savior. All he really wants to know is his name, and why he keeps hearing voices in his head.
Aberthol is told that he is king and that this is basically his "rebirth". Everyone expects him to have all the answers. But he doesn't. What's worse is that mere moments after being presented to the city that has waited for him for hundreds of years, or at least... to an empty courtyard in the city, tragedy befalls and people are killed. With the help of the granddaughter of the man who was supposed to help Aberthol remember who he was and the history of his family, he manages to escape.
First, I would like to say that I looked back through my books read this year and noticed I haven't really read an epic-like fantasy all year. I've read paranormal books, fairytale retellings, and science fiction... but nothing with dragons and people who fly and a king who's a descendant from a Creator. It was about time I remedied that.
It was an easy enough story to get drawn in to. I mean, it starts out a complete mystery. We find out the details of Aberthol and how he began where he did right along with him. However, it lost me for a bit. From the names that looked like someone just ran their fingers across the keyboard so they were impossible to pronounce to a song Elise sang that went on for pages and pages... I was worried I wouldn't finish it.
Elise is captured, however. And who attempts a rescue? Why, Aberthol and Elise's very own dead-but-not-dead father. WITH the aid of a golden dragon that I picture MUCH larger than the one on the cover of this book. Haha. He is a handsome thing though isn't he? Moving on... in their quest to rescue Elise, Aberthol and her father discover that myths passed down from generation to generation are, in fact, truth. And that truth ends up needing to be rescued and fought for just as much as the kingdom that Aberthol has been told he's in charge of.
I think that's something everyone has dreamed of at one time or another right? That something they thought was merely fairytale or folk lore would end up being true? Aberthol allies himself with dragon and people who can fly.
The more I read this the more I picture Avatar the Last Airbender. That's how I see Aberthol. Latest in a long line of this particular type of man who is supposed to be the good in the world. Who has the power to heal and kind of journeys in to his own "spirit world" seeing visions of the past and visions of things that could have been or of people who he has never truly known but are as real to him as he is.
It's a good story. I'm glad I stuck it out. The imagery and description in this book is just absolutely amazing and almost lyrical in how it's portrayed and delivered. Things are described in such detail that I can picture them in my mind as I read them. And with fantasy stories that's always one of the best parts.
I'd have to say one of my favorite characters is the dragon, Dwairomore. He is ancient and wise and friendly. And I loved the way that he spoke.
"No one that doth achieve great things ever sets out to do them. Only when thou dost think thyself worthy of greatness will all hope be lost... Remember, thou needs only to call and I shall come."
It's extremely poetic and something I haven't seen done in any other book that I've read (the Bible aside).
If you're like me and have yet to read a true fantasy novel this year, this one is for you. If you like tales of magical and mystical things like people with wings and dragons and kings of old this is for you. If you like quests and battles and good vs. evil this book is definitely for you.