THE CHRONICLES OF ALTARAN (Book 1: Shadow Lord Rising) tells the story of Ransom Cross, a young man kidnapped by assassins from Gehring’s Crossing, his hometown in the world of Altaran. The hired guns want to take the blond, blue-eyed boy to their master, Shaitan, also known as the Shadow Lord. They are intercepted by Ghorrin, giant lizard/dinosaur creatures who make up one of the four races of Altaran. Ghorrin are intelligent beings with the ability to speak, and they save Ransom from his attackers. An aspiring healer, Ransom initially functions as a prisoner in the Ghorrin caves before saving Yc-rem, one of the younglings who suffered a broken leg. Yc-rem repays Ransom by accompanying him on his return home, a reward for his good deed. Yet the boy finds his hometown in ashes and his parents murdered, which sets off a chain of events that includes adventures with pirates and assorted fantastical creatures who want to do Ransom, Yc-rem, Brother Andrew (a local priest) and Hunter (Ransom’s assigned bodyguard) plenty of harm.
The first of a four book series which undoubtedly features Ransom discovering why the Shadow Lord wants him and what his true destiny is, THE CHRONICLES OF ALTARAN draws clear biblical comparisons. Shaitan, the monster who speaks in the first few pages and is only briefly mentioned throughout the rest of the book, is an obvious characterization of Satan. Like the devil, Shaitan was among the “good” gods of Altaran, but fell from grace. His mad desire for power split the world in two: those who follow the Shadow Lord and those who adhere to the teachings of Makir, an obvious interpretation of the Christian god. Makir’s word is written in The Chronicles of Altaran, or the fantasy world’s bible.
Clear biblical references aside, THE CHRONICLES OF ALTARAN is an engaging tale of good and evil, another story of the hero’s journey. Much like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Ransom Cross is a relatively ordinary young man thrust into a life of adventure following the demise of his parents (or in Luke’s case, his aunt and uncle). He makes numerous discoveries about the world he lives in and himself as he attempts to find his place. And while the book features several typos, the characters are compelling enough to keep the reader interested. Perhaps one of the most loveable characters is Yc-rem, the youngling Ghorrin whose earnestness, bravery, and sweet temperament more than make up for his intimidating appearance.
Readers who enjoy fantasy stories and don’t mind biblical comparisons will find much to like in THE CHRONICLES OF ALTARAN (Book 1: Shadow Lord Rising), an engaging tale of good and evil featuring interesting and compelling characters in a strange, often brutal, world.
~Kent Page McGroarty for IndieReader