A Mountain of Hopelessness, Corruption, and Lost Faith Redeemed
The Temple of the Forgefather rests set into the mountain. Deep under the great marble structure lie the mines which produce the ore for the great forges. To become a novice in the temple is the highest aspiration of those who toil the mines in blackness. The mining city under the mountain is a brutal dictatorship which mandates the tally of each person who dwells there, whether a miner, a tavern owner, a chemmiker, everyone must pay. It is into this claustrophic nightmare of darkness and hard labor in which we find our young Wynn. Sold for a handful of silver to the temple by his father, sent to work in these mines. To dream of earning a place of service above in the gilded temple. Thus, begins our look into underground city of Aspiration and the deadly mines through the eyes of Wynn.
The priests of the temple above teach novices the ancient chants of power to work the metals. Power that is all but gone, fled the forges, forsaken the church, forsaken the temple priests, and left behind only an echo of what it once was. Here the bells toll the holy hours of the forge fires, and the priests and novices carry on a empty and meaningless daily devotion of duty. Here Kharios, a novice priest, dwells within his own world of brutality and the abuse of power within the hierarchy which exists in his day-to-day world.
Faithless is a tale well told from the point of view of the characters. The world is built through their eyes. The reader will only know what they know, through their trials and terrors. It takes little time to become involved in the lives he presents to us here. Graham Austin-King has skillfully taken these main characters and weaves his story as different chapter points of view. As we learn with miner and the novice, you will feel the Utterdark peering back at you, smell the stench of poverty and anguish, experience the pain and hunger, and shudder with horror at the terrors held in both.
The most glorious twists await the unsuspecting reader. I adore a glorious twist. The author has a major accomplishment here and has earned my deepest respect. The beginning of the story is a learning experience that is well written, with characters which have depth and key roles to play out. The middle of the book is full of brewing suspicions, in both the character’s and the reader’s minds. The three-quarter mark will reward you well with another twist and a roller coaster of unspeakable horrors until the very end.
“Shit, shit, shit!” Kharios moaned, dropping to his knees as the fine, sand-like, chems drifted down through the air, scattering over the coal chips at his feet. The light ebbed away slowly from the small pile of chems surrounding the shards of glass, and Kharios froze in place. Rooted, as if that would somehow help as the darkness fell. He reached for the wall, thrusting out an arm he couldn’t see through the darkness for a wall he hoped was still there. The blackness was total. Not the velvet night of above ground, when even the faintest of stars will provide some light. That darkness can even be a comfort. This was a darkness that held no warmth. It fell unopposed. And all unchallenged, it ruled.
Highly recommended reading, this is one you don’t want to miss. Go get it now.
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From the synopsis:
…When the souls bound to the great forge are released in a failed ritual, one novice flees down into the darkness of the mines. The soulwraiths know only hunger, the risen know only hate. In the blackest depths Kharios must seek a light to combat the darkness which descends.
Print Length: 404 pages
Publisher: Fallen Leaf Press (June 30, 2017)
Publication Date: June 30, 2017Language: English
More from the author – The Riven Wyrde Saga
Graham Austin-King was born in the south of England and weaned on broken swords and half-forgotten spells. A shortage of these forced him to consume fantasy novels at an ever-increasing rate, turning to computers and tabletop gaming between meals.