The Wolf by Leo Carew
|The Wolf by Leo Carew|
|Reviewer: James Donald|
|Summary: A confident and ambitious debut that creates a rich and complex world that you will love to explore and revisit.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: April 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
Travel to a world that is familiar and yet utterly different. We are in a version of ancient Britain with enough landmarks to make us feel at home yet it is a smoked glass. North of the river Abus we have the Anakim, a race that isn't quite human; they are something more. The Anakim are virtual giants and their ribs are not cages but bone breastplates instead. Below the Abus are the Sutheners, humans. Theirs is an ancient grudge and one where blood is spilled frequently in pitched battle. Unfortunately it is rare when humans are involved for things to be straightforward and the same is true here. On both sides politics and machinations complicate the quests for glory. With the Anakim we have a boy coming to power and vying with the greatest warrior in the land for the throne. Amongst the Sutheners we see a commoner having the temerity to lead an army alongside his betters. Both battles are as interesting as the war itself.
It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Carew's writing is clear, easy to follow and gripping. The world we are dropped into is dense with all the various threads weaving together to make a beautiful tapestry of a tale. All you need is here – The battles are bloody and well planned, the politics are twisted and the characters pop off the page.
Roper is our boy-king undergoing a hero's journey and he has some great wise elders in Grey and Tekoa. Bellamus is a wonderful foil and it is unclear who we should be rooting for between them. Most of our focus is on Anakim politics but the meanders into Bellamus' schemes and the grand battles give nice diversions to enjoy along the way.
It is obvious to make comparisons with the Songs of Ice and Fire series but unfortunately by that comparison this book will fall flat. Martin builds highly complex worlds and plots that stretch over years. It took him years of relatively average (albeit inventive) work to reach the type of skill needed for that. Those who've sought to emulate Martin have fallen short because they forget how important storytelling is to the mix. Carew, by comparison, remains fairly straightforward in his structure but he puts storytelling first and foremost. This approach pays dividends and it is the reason that I have given it 5 stars. Not every entertaining tale needs to be the behemoth that is Game of Thrones.
Enjoyable and engaging.
Despite that if you enjoy this book you'd also like A Feast for Crows by George R R Martin.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Wolf by Leo Carew at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Wolf by Leo Carew at Amazon.com.
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