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Jun 14

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‘Bane of Souls’ by Thaddeus White

Bane of SoulsYes, I know.  I swore a while back that this would not be a review site since there are a blue bazillion of them out there already, and if you really want to know, check the reviews on Amazon.  However, it occurs to me also that being an indie publisher myself, that I have something of a moral responsibility to support other indie publishers, especially those with which I have some sort of association.

And more especially if what they have written is good.

But first a rant.  It wasn’t dear Thaddeus, but I checked the reviews for another self-published writer I know.  There were quite a lot of rather rude responses such as, Another indie Pub grammar nightmare!”  I haven’t read that book yet (it’s on my list) but to those people who are are so upset by a few typos: quit your whining!  Such an attitude might say a little about the writer, but it says a lot about the reviewer.  Namely, that they know nothing about self-publishing.

Let me put it this way.  To have written a serious novel at all is an accomplishment that 99.99% of the population will never have the discipline to achieve.  Out of that small minority that have the wherewithal to complete one, it is estimated that only one out of ten make any attempt to publish it, and out of those, only one of ten manage to do so, by any means.  (I’m not counting the plethora of crapworks that have hit the indie market; that’s another story.)  Doing it all yourself is a Herculean effort no matter how  you look at it, and frankly, getting all the typos out on one’s own is just about impossible.  I know.  Even so, typos are still really just part of the packaging, and so many people are too wrapped up in the packaging.  I want to know about the story.

Besides, I’ve purchased “professionally” produced e-books at full market price of the paperback, that were littered with uncorrected scan errors.  It’s not just a problem with indie publishers.

That said, which was mostly, but not quite, off-topic, Bane of Souls is rather well produced.  Yes, there were a few typos, but not many, and I like to consider myself man enough to overlook the dings on the box and get into the story underneath.

And for that, I was quite rewarded.

White paints a world that is vivid, colorful, diverse, and active.  The reader can almost feel himself walking down the streets, sampling the shops, smelling the aroma from the bakery and the stench from the taverns.  Set into that environment is a history full of tradition and politics, and characters impacted by tradition and politics.  They are believable.  Although there are a couple with few, if any, redeeming virtues, they aren’t just good or bad, white or black.  They have their own histories and internal conflicts that propel them onward and constrain their actions.

I have reached the age (at least I suppose that is the reason) where I enjoy a more character-driven story.  Not exclusively, but a sound mixture.  Bane of Souls is largely plot-driven, but that is hardly a fault.  One of my all-time favorite science fiction classics, “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series, is almost entirely plot-driven; the characters hardly have personality.  Even some world-class standards like Lord of the Rings are plot-driven.  And the plot we are talking about in Bane of Souls is quite well developed.  Both of the other examples I mentioned above are essentially linear, though Lord of the Rings does carry on a couple of different plot lines.  Bane of Souls, however, has a lot going on.  I lost count of just how many people are going about their individual business without realizing how it fit into the grand scheme of things.  It is a world just as complex as the real one, where everything that happens depends in one way or another upon something else.

In fact, there is never a dull moment.  From the first pages where Francis finds himself hanging over the Axe until the climax at the end, the action never stops.  There is always some kind of adventure or malicious intent transpiring, and although it is possible to predict in a few cases what will happen, it is never possible to predict how it will happen.  Concurrent with the action are the underlying threads of mystery, and White is careful to raise a new one before answering a previous one.  Some of those mysteries bring with them a noose of suspense that tells you it is not yet time to quit reading and go to bed.

Yes, there were some rough spots, and some I had to read twice, but it was well worth doing so.  If you like a fantasy novel with magic, monsters, greed and ambition, swords (and other forms of killing), vengeance, subterfuge, surprises, and some cool mysteries, Bane of Souls shouldn’t disappoint.

Update

The author just informed me he has revised the book and corrected those few typos.  The Kindle e-book is only $0.99 right now.  Don’t miss the opportunity!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.duanevore.com/bane-of-souls-by-thaddeus-white/

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