Although I prefer holding a real book to reading a book on my smart phone, I have found e-books particularly useful for library borrowing. They allow waiting lists and automatic retrieval (no more pesky library fines).
I am gratified to point out to my friends in Calgary, that THE HALCYON CYCLE books are now available in e-book format at the Calgary Public Library … if you haven’t read, for example, THE DRAGONS OF SHEOL, why not check it out there for free?
Strangely enough, I read the third book before reading this, the second in the series. That was an interesting experience, but not a bad one. Suddenly, all the foreshadowing became references that I had inside knowledge of that the characters didn’t yet. Also, it was quite charming to see a couple that I knew as already married and established in their relationship first meet and fall in love. Theirs was a very interesting dynamic that I wasn’t expecting, knowing their future selves!
My favorite aspect of this particular book was probably that particular romance, because it was so sweet and charming. It reminded me somewhat of Aragon and Arwen from the Lord of the Rings if they met later in life instead of growing up together.
Another aspect of this book that I really like that also reminds me of The Lord of the Rings is the strong bond of friendship between the protagonists. While I haven’t yet read the first book to find out all of the friendship origins, I have seen how they have been tested and held true.
Also, it was great to visit this world (these worlds?) again, because it really is quite unique. There is something about it that combines fantasy, science fiction, and Biblical/apocalyptical [sic] together like the three strands of a braid.
Anyway, for anyone who likes speculative fiction, romances between immortals and mortals, and books in general, this is the series for you.
I received a copy of this book from the author, but was not required to give a favorable review.
The main difficulty for me with the Halcyon Cycle has been the interval between books! On this occasion, (having previously written to ask when this was coming out) Peter kindly sent me a free review copy, which I found waiting for me on my return from a trip away. I was tired from my travels; so that made a perfect excuse to put my feet up and read – and I devoured over a third of the book in one day! After that, I decided I had better catch up on my other work and rationed myself quite severely. One tip: if, like me, it’s about 2 years since you read the last book I’d recommend re-reading that first. Maybe even re-read both. I found that I had become pretty hazy over some of the details: but I was so intent on following the story that I failed to notice the helpful glossary and maps at the back until I’d almost finished.
The book is very fast-paced, as Al and his friends engage in an increasingly desperate search to trace his wife and adopted son before they are lost forever in the terrifying abyss called Sheol. This leaves them less time for philosophical debate than in previous books. Nevertheless, the philosophical element is still present, covering such issues as the social bankruptcy of [tyranny], duty in the face of despair and whether the goodies are always good or the baddies irredeemably bad.
The book ends on a high note: but this is very evidently the calm before the storm. Key questions remain unanswered; and the eventual outcome is far from certain. Will good ultimately triumph over the evils that may arise from the depths of Sheol, from within the ranks of the Ancient Ones, or from Earth itself? Is there going to be another trilogy? I won’t be satisfied until I see the next series.
The Wolfsburg Imprints book, The Battle for Halcyon, is still in the running for the Speculative Fiction category of the Word Awards. The Award winner will be announced at the Word Award Gala in Toronto on June 24, 2016.
Here is a 100 word excerpt from the book requested for the Gala.
Dave peeked over the rubble heap and saw a large band of Halfmen approaching, carrying torches. Just then an arrow thudded into the first Halfman and the others howled with rage and sprang to the attack. There were so many of them that they flowed through a gap in the broken ruin of the wall like a dark howling tide. Dave had no time to think, but along with his friends was fighting for his life. Three large Lupi bounded on a nearby broken wall. The leader spotted Dave, growled and leapt for him. Dave rammed his shield into its snout and thrust his sword into its chest.
I came across Peter Kazmaier in an online group discussion on some fairly contentious issues relating to faith and morality. I was struck by his reasoned approach and intrigued to discover that he was also the author of this book. Having read many sci-fi and fantasy books in the past, but nothing of that ilk recently; I decided to put it on my Christmas list. After all, it should be better than a pair of socks. And I’m glad to say, it was.
Initially, the book reads like a fairly standard science fiction novel. A force-field experiment at a University on the little island of Halcyon goes catastrophically wrong, ripping the entire island into what appears to be an alternate reality with no human inhabitants. But as they begin to explore this part-familiar, part-alien world a different picture slowly emerges. Was their coming here an accident, and what is the real agenda of the men who have set themselves up as Halcyon’s leaders? More worryingly still, it gradually becomes apparent that this world was not always uninhabited. So why does it seem that way now – and is it really?
As the plot thickens the book becomes more of a science fantasy battle between both moral and spiritual forces of good and evil than a simple science fiction. But this is one of the most interesting aspects of the book. On one hand, are hard-nosed scientists and philosophers, determined to create a new human utopia without any taint of religion or old-fashioned morality. In the middle are a lot of hurting and confused young people of various persuasions who desperately want to go home; and at the other extreme a group of religious fundamentalists who simply want an escape from the perceived evils of this brave new world.
But who are the real moralists and the real oppressors? As we follow the stories of some of those caught in the middle of all this, there are many fascinating discussions as they try to work through the issues of who, and what, they should believe, and how they should respond in this strange new reality.