Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr

I like a fantasy novel that I can follow and understand. Carr has done an excellent job in giving us a compelling story that takes place in another kingdom and another time with characters and a plot I understood.

The location of this novel is the Kingdom of Collum. It is one of six kingdoms on the continent that border The Darkwater, a sinister forest. Our main character is Lord Willet Dura, an investigator for the king of Bunard. We were introduced to Dura in the novella By Divine Right. (That novella is free and I suggest you read it to get an idea of how well Carr writes as well as having the stage set for this novel.)

Dura is called to investigate a murder. He looks over the scene and finds one brutally dead but the other missing. The second man had been mortally wounded and was at a passing house, a place for those dying. But the man is not quite dead. As Dura approaches him, the man grabs Dura and screams a foreign word before he dies. That action changes the course of Dura's future and sets him on a course of extreme danger.

This novel has many Christian overtones. There is a three person God, one of whom lived among the people. The major theme emphasized in the novel is the gifts God gives. Aer, God, has given gifts to people. These gifts are to be passed down to the next generation before the holder of the gift dies. If the person dies suddenly, the gift is “lost” and is given to someone else by Aer. There are serving gifts, gifts of musical talent, and many others.

The gifting that is at the center of this plot is one that allows the holder to go into the mind of another. We find that, as is often the case with gifts from God, that gift can be used for good or for evil.

This is a novel about minds, what is in them and how they work. Some have dark areas in their minds that are locked away. Those who have been in The Darkwater forest and survived have an especially dark area locked away. Even those with the mind delving gift cannot get into that black area.

This is a novel about good and evil. It is not always a clear cut battle between the two and that was the case here. Sometimes I was unclear about who was a good guy and who was not. There were plenty of surprises as actions and characteristics of people were revealed. It kept me paying attention or I would have been lost.

This is a long novel and I recommend it to those who love to get lost in another world in another time. I really enjoyed it. We are left hanging at the end so I will be looking for the sequel.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

I am taking part in a Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy blog tour of this book. You can read the reviews of other participants at the links below:

Patrick W. Carr graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984, has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, done work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. For the last eight years he has been teaching high school math in Nashville, Tennessee. He and his life have four sons and live in Nashville. You can find out more at http://www.patrickwcarr.com/.

Bethany House Publishers, 464 pages. You can buy the book here.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the CSFF blog tour for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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