Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Last Seal by Richard Denning review

4 stars

The Last Seal by Richard Denning is a historical fantasy book set in 1666 around the Great London Fire.  The story follows the struggle of the Praesidum in their quest to keep the Liberati from freeing the demon lord Dantalion.  

The Praesidum consists of Ben, Freya, Tobias, and Gabriel though only Gabriel knows the truth of what is happening.  Ben is a schoolboy whose parents were killed in a fire before explaining his birthright to him.  Freya is a streetwise thief who runs into Ben through chance and gets sucked into an adventure she could never have seen coming, and Tobias is a doctor whose father was killed by the Liberati in what he thinks of as a pointless struggle based on superstition.  

The Liberati consists of Artemis and the men he has tricked into following him.  The most important of those is Matthius, a disillusioned street preacher who believes they are freeing an Angel to clean the city of the taint of sin.  Artemis has had the story of Dantalion passed down to him by his father and wishes to free the powerful demon in order to advance his own status in the new world that will be created.  Everyone else is a tool to help him or an obstacle to be destroyed.

Dantalion is kept trapped by a series of magical seals set by Cornelius Silver, the founder of the Praesidum, that the current members strive to protect.  Artemis however has learned the best way to destroy them is intense fire.  Once all of the original seals are destroyed the last seal will be revealed and Dantalion can be summoned back to Earth.  

The Last Seal is an interesting story and being set with a major historical event adds a bit of realism to the story.  The magic system used by Richard is solid and well explained with a very nice glossary explaining the terms used in the spellcasting.  Artemis served as a fairly standard bad guy whose only concern is his own well being.  The character I most enjoyed was Freya, her streetwise ways and smart mouth really made her an asset to the dialogue of the group.  Gabriel and Tobias were decent characters with good backstories, but I really never identified with them.  Ben was a solid character dealing with the tragedy of his past and discovering more about himself and his family than he ever knew.  He also has to battle his personal demons in order to come to terms with the events that are happening around him.  

Overall the story was enjoyable, though I did find a few parts a little slow.  This is a very good book for people who are looking for younger characters playing large roles and works well for a YA book.  The descriptions of the devastation of a large fire are well done and the way the fire is spread adds a terrible element to the brutality of the event.   

Copy provided by the author for review.


If you are interested in this book be sure to leave a comment with an email address for a chance to win an ecopy of the book!  Drawing will be made Oct 5, 2011.

1 comment:

  1. I'm interested! Sign me up!

    It sounds like a good book, one that I'd definitely enjoy reading.