Book Review: "Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising"
- by Señor Editor, 27 June 2014
“Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising” is an “alternative history” book, and the first full-length novel by Sarah Cawkwell. It answers the question “What would have happened if Richard of York hadn’t fall at Bosworth Field in 1485?”, but, thankfully, it’s not all it does.
Fast forward a hundred years, and England under the rule of Richard the Fifth is not a happy place. Inquisitors have almost rid the islands of magi (that’s the term for magic practitioners), Richard plans to invade the magic-friendly France, and the day of Melusine possessing his son is getting closer. Mathias Eynon is a young orphan boy from Wales, and it falls upon him and his beloved, Tagan, to travel across the world and find the four magical beings. With their help, the rule of Melusine could be avoided.
That’s the basic outline of the plot, but there’s a whole lot more of it, that I wouldn’t like to spoil. On the surface, it seems Cawkwell’s novel is a pretty standard fantasy book, but don’t let that fool you. “Uprising” is a mix of many things (fantasy, history, etc.), but it is first and foremost a remarkably well-written adventure book. It’s fun, and you don’t have to be a British history major to see that.
Cawkwell does a great job of making the arcane elements of the book really resonate with the reader. The way she describes the magic and the demons actually manages to make them believable. They are both scary, beautiful and unnatural enough to be quite fascinating. There are some elements of horror here, and a good few spots where what we’re NOT told lets our imagination run wild.
A good adventure book should have a good set of characters, and “Uprising” has that. Mathias and Tagan are likeable protagonists, and the few allies they encounter on their journey are very colorful and fun to read about. The interactions between the good guys are written really well, and help to move the story along quite nicely. It’s a pretty short and fast-paced book, so Cawkwell gets extra credit for introducing so many great characters and making us care about them in a short span of time.
It’s not just the good guys that are interesting here, though. The Inquisitor Charles Weaver is a baddie you really love to hate. He’s an obsessive, cold bastard and he won’t let anybody stand in the way of ridding England of the magi. He’s also a villain with a great look, as he’s a big scary guy, sporting a metal, mirror-like mask.
The world of “Heirs of the Demon King” is also a real treat to read about, especially when we see so much of it (from England to France, Germany, Egypt and more). It’s a rich and well-designed world that makes this globetrotting adventure all the more enjoyable.
All in all, Sarah Cawkwell’s book is highly entertaining, and a very promising first chapter in a new book series. Even if you’re not really into fantasy, this book has the action, the characters and the pace to make it worth your while, so I suggest you check it out.
“Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising” is out from Abaddon Books and you can get your copy on their website. Have you read the book? Planning to? Let us know in the comments!