by Tracy and Laura Hickman
Warner Books, April, 2004.
Hardcover, 448 pages.
Newlywed blacksmith Galen Arvad appears to have a very nice life: he married the girl he loves, he owns a profitable smithing operation and he enjoys working with his friend, the talented dwarf Cephas. But Galen's life is thrown into chaos when the authorities discover the secret he has kept all his life: he dreams of other people and places which appear to be real, and during the daytime inanimate objects talk to him constantly. During his dreams, Galen often meets two people from his own world, his comrade Maddoc and Inquisitor Tragget (who must hide his secret from his colleagues) and creatures from the other two worlds, the faery Dwynwyn and the goblin Mimic. Galen's innate magical abilities are eventually found out by the representatives of the Dragonkings. His affliction is deemed to be madness and he is imprisoned with other citizens who are similarly affected. Now Galen is about to find out that his world, which is governed as a theocracy by seven dragons, is nothing like what he thought it was. There are actually three worlds which inhabit the same space, but in different dimensions. Galen's abilities allow him to see into these other worlds: the faerie world, where faeries are under attack by centaurs and satyrs, and the goblin world, where abandoned machinery made by the vanished Titans is the ultimate status symbol. Galen must learn to use his abilities before those in power decide that Galen is too much of a threat to be allowed to live.
Husband and wife writing team Tracy and Laura Hickman break new ground in this provocative, highly imaginative fantasy. Young Galen Arvad is a likeable, although na´ve, protagonist who eventually discovers that he has powers he never dreamed of. The interaction between the three worlds adds suspense to the story, and the magical system is especially well-imagined. Galen's exchanges with (sometimes grumpy) inanimate objects is both funny, entertaining and creepy, all at the same time. The Hickmans have quite a bit of depth to their writing, weaving political, religious and an exploration of interesting societal themes throughout the text. But the story also works quite well as a straightforward adventure fantasy with plenty of action, magic and intrigue.
Mystic Warrior is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the May-June, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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