Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cadman's Gambit by D.P. Prior review

Dr Ernst Cadman has led a quiet life, but that’s how he’s wanted it all these hundreds of years. With a secret like his, anonymity and caution are the best friends a man can have. Nothing could tempt him from the safety of his parasitic existence at the heart of the city of Sarum—at least nothing this side of the Abyss.

Cadman stakes everything on obtaining the artefact that once destroyed an entire civilization, but in so doing he draws the gaze of a sinister presence from beyond the stars.

Meanwhile, Deacon Shader, veteran of the war against the undead armies of the Liche Lord, has one last fight in him. This time it’s just a tournament, with the prize a sword steeped in myth. Win or lose, Shader intends to defy his Templum master and retire to the Abbey of Pardes.

When a horror from the past wrecks Shader’s monastic dream and leads him to plague torn Sarum, he finds an ancient power unleashed that imperils more than he could possibly imagine—a power now in the hands of Dr Cadman.

Gods tremble, and worlds will fall unless Shader can conquer his personal demons and accept the fate he’s been prepared for since birth.

My review:
4 stars

Cadman's Gambit by D.P. Prior is the first book in the Shader series.  Taking place about 1000 years in Earth's future only the general landscape of the planet remains unchanged.  The story is woven in a complex arc that unwraps itself layer by layer to grant you a fuller understanding of who the characters are and what has happened to the world.

Deacon is the hero, a man of the church, who struggles with his own identity.  One who believes in peace, but is himself capable of great violence to protect his beliefs.

Cadman is a predator who is afraid of being revealed for what he truly is.  Hiding behind an illusory mask loathing the idea of what he has become, but unable to let go of his existence.

Sektis Gandaw an otherwordly figure ruled by logic and technology.  He wants to be able to return to the world and take what he sees as his rightful place at the top of it.  Unable to take direct physical action he uses his tools to have his agents seek out something that can change everything.

There are many more characters that we are treated to a surprising amount of insight about.  This book doesn't just have a few well formed characters and a cast of cardboard cutouts to fill the space and advance the plot.  Each person has their own motivations for their actions and the majority of them are easy to understand.

This book requires a fair amount of attention to detail to understand all of the different philosophies and political ideologies that the different regions follow.  Understanding them is important to really being able to submerge yourself in the complex state of the world.  This book is highly recommended for people who enjoy complete characters, complex worlds, and intriguing plot lines.  In other words if you like fantasy give the book a shot.

Review copy provided by the author.

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