cover image After the Ruin

After the Ruin

Harriet Goodchild. Hadley Rille (Ingram, dist.), $16 trade paper (396p) ISBN 978-0-9892631-5-3

This refreshing debut is an impeccably paced, well-thought-out work of high fantasy. The emotionally broken Marwy Ninek and the sly yet warm Assiolo are lovers caught between the neighboring lands of Felluria and Lyikené. Both are being used as pawns in a plot to overthrow a king. While taking cues from the long tradition of romantic fantasy, Goodchild manages to refresh a familiar plot; the tale of star-crossed lovers and political intrigue is tender and heartfelt, and never melodramatic. The mythology and history she constructs are fascinating and richly detailed, each aspect adding another layer of believability to the story. However, Goodchild has not done much to update the cod-medieval setting used for so many epic fantasies. This intriguing work of fiction may be conventional in some respects, but it’s entirely enjoyable. (Mar.)