01/12/2008. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Leucrota Press. 335 page enlarged paperback. Price: 29.95 (US). ISBN: 978-0-9800339-4-6.
check out website: www.leucrotapress.com
'Damewood: Demons Of The Past' is a somewhat odd book. The opening chapter is a good Science Fiction kind of opening with a disaster imminently about to happen and then most of the rest is more a fantasy quest. It isn't until the end that things move back to where they were, sort of.
The story follows Nadia, a princess disguised as a knight from Damewood returning home with Vestro, a kelpie who can shapeshift into a horse. They join up with Prince Andrew's hunting party and from there on, it's mostly a light read fantasy read all seen from Nadia's first person perspective.
It mixes in mystery, romance and the odd abduction with a lot of character development. Of course, Nadia doesn't know her origins and we don't really know what's really going on. In fact, without referring to the back cover, I would have been stuck to know what was there outside of the quest to get home. The most apparent thing is that kelpies aren't trusted and exterminated when discovered. What is given at the end goes towards getting back to Science Fiction but in the process tears down a lot of what has been established along the way.
This doesn't mean to say that the story isn't readable but I'm just not sure who it's catering for. Its more fantasy for fantasy readers who like a little SF rather than SF readers who will take on fantasy. Whether this will change with the second book we'll have to wait and see. If anything, at this point, even if Nadia hadn't been aware of her origins, more clues could have been laid down that she might not have picked up on but would have made the reader more aware of what was really going on.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA