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Uprising (Heirs of the Demon King) Paperback – 5 Jun 2014
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About the Author
Sarah Cawkwell is an English author based in the North East. Old enough to know better, she's still young enough not to care. Married, with a son and two intellectually challenged cats, she's been a writer for many years, contributing to the Warhammer universe. When not slaving away over a hot keyboard, Sarah s hobbies include reading everything and anything, and running around in fields with swords screaming incomprehensibly. Her minimum bribe level is one chocolate orange.
Top customer reviews
Readers will get a good sense of the author’s grounding in Warhammer and online gaming given the narrative plays exactly like one of those scenarios. The story is centred around one Mattias Eynon, a young lad living in Wales with an inherent gift of magic – a gift that was brought to England by Richard the Lionheart (this is the pivot on which history diverges). This is an England where the ‘Eastern Promise unlocked a whole new world. It was a world terrifying and overwhelming in equal measure –but it was also a world of limitless potential.” Yet, it was also an England where “Freedom was a thing long forgotten.”
There is some inexperience in the narration. Early on the author stresses the slow creep of magic into society, with sentences like: “Slowly, but surely, magic became part of the culture” or “The words of magic began slowly to trickle down.” These conflict with her rush to say “By the time of Richard’s death, five years after his return…magic had firmly taken root.” And “with the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215…the spread of magic through the population was unprecedented.” A minor point, but given these occur early in the story, the more experienced fantasy novel reader will wince slightly. I got a sense of a rush by the author to set the background, wanting to delve into the ‘present’ story.
The novel opens with a swift explanation of how Richard III (he who was found under a car park in Leicester recently) did a deal with the demon Melusine to win the field at Bosworth; the price of which means one of his descendants will be handed to her so she may gain entrance to the world…an entrance through the magic of Stonehenge. Skip forward a hundred years and we find Mattias and Tagan (his girlfriend) fleeing the terrible Inquisitor Weaver who is the mighty fist of King Richard V. The latter wears a mask, possesses a superhuman strength and will and is a bloodhound tracking down all who practise magic and condemning them to swift (usually fiery) death. Both young people have a magical talent, one that needs nurturing, one that Weaver has been sent to snuff out.
Having been magically transported to a henge in Bavaria, Germany to meet a powerful magus – Warin the Shapeshifter – the rest of the novel becomes a quest for Mattias and Tagan to find the other three powerful magi (Eyja – She Who Sees, Giraldo de Luna – the Pirate King, and Akhgar Ibn Atash – the Wanderer) then defeat the demon Melusine. I have to say that when this motley crew got together I was faintly reminded of ‘The Princess Bride’. Primarily because of the rakish Giraldo, who is both strutting peacock and swordsman extraordinaire. Each member of the fellowship compliments the others; we find ourselves in dark forests, on raging seas, crossing harsh deserts…all the while chased by the in exhaustible Weaver until the denouement at Stonehenge. Events seem to come to a satisfactory end with the important opening for the author to write another novel.
I quite liked this novel because it took me back to fantasy reading as a teenager. There’s a character type for all gamers and this is the novel’s target audience…it’s not a “teen novel” like Hunger Games et al. but it certainly will appeal to those immersed in the ‘original’ strain of fantasy novels. Those who grew up with D&D, those who now indulge in Warhammer or World of Warcraft will find much to enjoy as they turn the pages. It’s not high on technicality, but it is abundant with the possibility of the reader swelling the words with their own imagination and that…is what makes it rather good.
His descendant, Richard V, is out to persecute magicians and ban magic from England, using his Inquisition to carry out his plans.
The books deals with how the more powerful magicians and the two main characters, Mathias and Tagan, get together to defeat the king.
The novel is quite engaging and the reader is involved enough to want to know how the story will end. It works as a stand-alone book although there may be others to follow. The characters are well- developed and the locations are made interesting.
All in all, I was suitably impressed to want to know if the author comes up with a follow-up.
The Inquisition being an English instrument of terror is a lovely twist and I particularly enjoyed how she took England's Industrial Revolution and moved it back a few hundred years. Yes, the battle of science versus magic is an old trope, but she managed it well, her descriptions of English society painting vivid pictures.
I could easily see this being converted into a D20-like or Fate-like role-playing game, and would most certainly buy such a thing. I look forward to when I can read a sequel.
After the initial dance of demon monarchs we get to the main character Matthew, who lives in blissful ignorance of his impending fate. The path he is set to travel will tear him from his loved ones and make him question his very existence.
The author has combined the Inquisition, heresy and witchcraft with demonic power and ancient magic. Cawkwell has changed the royal lineage by changing the outcome of the Battle of Bosworth.
Matthew and Tagan set off on a quest to gather together a merry band of magical beings. Each one more eccentric and unusual than the next.
All of them are trying to escape the clutches of the vicious Inquisitor Weaver, who just happens to have a direct line to the evil force threatening to consume all that is magical in Britain.
This story takes up the pace mid-book and has a strong ending that suggests a sequel. The build-up and historical explanation at the beginning were sluggish to the point of being detrimental to the story.
It would have been better to serve all that potential straight up at the beginning with the hors d'oeuvres instead of waiting till the main course to get to the point.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.