Would you rather be the conquered or the conqueror?
In a world where gods pull the strings of mortals and people wield the power of the elements, the nation of Libera is attacked by its age-old enemy, the Kem, who lay waste to the land and its armies with their demonic powers of fire and steel.
Imharak, a blacksmith’s apprentice, is forced to leave his home town when it is raided and burned to the ground.
Together with his master, Gaius, he flees into the wilderness, heading for Gaius’ brother, who is caught near a city that has just been conquered by the Kem.
What troubles Imharak is not so much the invasion, but the fact that he shares the same powers as the invaders, leading him to question where he came from.
He never knew his parents – he was raised as a Liberite and destined to be a common blacksmith. His powers had always made him an outcast, and now he starts to think he might have more in common with the conquerors than with the conquered.
Soon, Imharak will find his allegiances torn between both sides. As he and Gaius journey closer to the lion’s den, Imharak will discover who he really is and what he is capable of.
A bloody, harrowing adventure that takes its cues from ancient civilisations and mythologies, The Fire and the Forge is like no fantasy you’ve ever read.
While a lot of epic fantasy is set in a world resembling medieval Europe, The Fire and the Forge is influenced by ancient Mediterranean civilisations like Egypt, Israel, Carthage and Rome.
It owes more to the world of the Old Testament and Mt. Olympus than the world of knights, wizards and castles.
You’ll find no elves, dwarves or goblins here. No dark lords, dragon-slayers or prophecies.
You’ll find no good or evil, but only a grey sense of morality as people are forced to make life-or-death decisions in a harsh and brutal world.
From the very first sentence, this intimate, character-driven tale will dig its hooks into you and haul you along to the bitter end.
Geurts delivers a compelling tale of the reluctant orphan who finds himself to be more than he could ever have imagined. Imharak’s place in the world is so much more than the sum of his bloodline. Finding himself in the midst of invasion, Imharak must discover which side of himself to align with. Will he be the conqueror or the conquered?
“The Fire And The Forge” is incredibly quotable. Geurts weaves life lessons like a true philosopher. Like Aesop, Geurts’ writing teach caution when caution is due and encourage a critical filter while disseminating information.
Gaius, while not being blood related to Imharak, rears the boy with love and wisdom. Gaius’ past is never far from his thoughts and he uses the bloody lessons he’s learned to give Imharak a deeper understanding of life than most in their feudal land. The love between them adds a depth to this story that most tales like this lack. It puts a very human face on fiction and weaves a story that will, brick by brick, add pieces to the readers life. I’m better for reading this story.
Unlike most fantasy, “The Fire And The Forge” has a setting that is closer to a Roman or Egyptian civilization and it’s a very nice reprieve from the ever present “dark ages” scene. The characters range in race and culture. It’s a story rich in diversity as well as adversity.
I especially enjoyed the different “magics” illustrated here. What a powerful imagination Geurts must have. There aren’t many stories that I recommend for film but this is absolutely one of them. If given the chance, I think it would rock the world on the scale of the “Game of Thrones” series. Yes, it really is that good.
I am completely caught in Geurts’ web and won’t be getting out anytime soon. I look forward to continuing the series.
The Technical Data:
Title: The Fire And The Forge | Series: Pantheon | Author(s): Jack Geurts |Publisher: Amazon Digital Sales LLC / Publication Date: 9-20-2017 |Pages: 448 (Print) |ISBN/ASIN: B075T5D6YN |Genre(s): Fantasy / Fables / Mythology / Fairy Tales |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 | Date Read: 10-26-2017 |Source: Copy from author.