Darien Lauchlin has just been made a Grand Master of Aerysius when his brother, Aiden—who has just made a pact with the Lord of the Netherworld, Xerys—uses his power to utterly destroy Aerysius, a city high on a mountain.
Their mother, Emelda, initially survives, along with Darien. All others perish, leaving Darien last surviving Sentinel able to defend his world against the demons unleashed by his brother. Aiden had opened the Well of Tears, which unlocked the Gateway to the Netherworld where an army of demons, or Necrators, lives. Meanwhile, The Enemy from The Black Lands is threatening to move south and take control of adjacent territory. Darien is thrown into the middle of this conflict as well. But Darien’s took an Oath of Harmony, swearing never to use his power to harm. Can he keep to his oath?
Author M.L. Spencer sets up a number of moral choices in her epic saga, centering on universal themes including the corrupting nature of power, tragedy and romance. Will Darien find and punish his brother? Will he ever see his beloved, Meiran, who is also a Grand Master and was sent to the Netherworld by the Necrators? Will he help defeat The Enemy? Will he close The Well of Tears? Most importantly, what is Darien willing to sacrifice to save his love?
With Darkmage, Spencer has created a fully realized world with magic, vortexes, and fire from fingers—complete with a map and an essential six page glossary, which readers will need to refer back to until all of the terms, names and titles are understood. She handles the battle scenes—especially sword fights—as well as character dialogue, from the elevated Masters to the everyday working class communication of Darien’s acolyte, Kyel. Overall, it is hard to believe that this is Spencer’s first novel.
Reviewed by Joe DelPriore for IndieReader