The Winds of Khalakovo

Bradley P. Beaulieu, Night Shade (www.nightshadebooks.com), $14.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-1-59780-218-5
Debut novelist Beaulieu paints a detailed and realistic portrayal of individual fates bound up in social responsibilities as well-grounded cultures clash. Prince Nikandr Khalakovo, facing an arranged marriage, also suffers from a wasting disease plaguing the Anuskaya islands. When the rebellious Maharraht loose a fire elemental and kill the visiting Grand Duke Stasa Bolgravya, civil war erupts, and all factions seek to capture a mysterious autistic boy who straddles both the spirit and the material worlds. Beaulieu skillfully juggles elements borrowed from familiar cultures (primarily Russian and Bedouin) as well as telepathy, airborne ships, and magical gems. Viewpoint shifts are occasionally confusing, but the prose is often poetic—airborne skiffs under attack "dropped like kingfishers" and "twisted in the air like maple seeds"—and the characters have welcome depth. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/21/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-9526-7
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