cover image Duskfall


Christopher Husberg. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-78329-915-7

Husberg's debut fantasy launches a projected five-volume series set in a standard high-fantasy world: quasi-medieval, populated by elves (who name themselves tiellan) and humans, dominated by a lightly camouflaged and very corrupt Christian religion. Tiellan are a fading race, persecuted in their ghettos. Winter, a restless young tiellan woman, is about to escape by marrying an amnesiac human man called Knot, but the ceremony is disrupted by attackers who kill most of the celebrants. Knot kills the attackers but is nonetheless blamed for all the deaths. He lights out for Roden, the city he feels strangely drawn to. Winter, who survives, soon follows him. Their parallel quest-journeys bring about the usual portentous meetings with mysteriously knowledgeable strangers. Interspersed are snippets about the priestess Cinzia, who's combating heresy in her family, but it takes too much time for her role in the overall narrative to become clear. Leisurely pacing and scant innovation make this story more workmanlike than enthralling. Husberg's prose is assured, however, and some of his tweaks%E2%80%94particularly his variation on vampires%E2%80%94indicate that the series may develop in intriguing ways. Agent: Sam Morgan, JABberwocky Literary. (June)