cover image Seven Forges

Seven Forges

James A. Moore. Osprey/Angry Robot, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-85766-383-2

George R.R. Martin fans willing to settle for a less sophisticated plotline may enjoy this well-written epic fantasy series kickoff. Merros Dulver, a retired military man, has accepted a paid mission to explore the hostile Blasted Lands north of his home kingdom, Fellein, and reach the mountains known as the Seven Forges. After over two months in perpetual twilight, Dulver’s expedition comes under attack from horrific beasts. The group is saved only by the intervention of Drask, a mysterious stranger from the Seven Forges who sports a silver hand and makes short work of the creatures. Dulver is dumfounded to learn that Drask’s people, the Sa’ba Taalor, had been awaiting him specifically, as a means of opening diplomatic relations with the emperor of Fellein. Moore does a nice job of depicting the initial, tentative contacts between the two civilizations, but most of the real action happens toward the end, serving to set up the sequel rather than offering a real resolution. (Oct.)