Historical fantasy is my favourite genre – and I’m seeing more and more books in this genre over the last couple of years.
Gurzil is both very ambitious and highly imaginative – linking characters from all over a collapsed Roman Empire.
Set in the 6th century, we meet Morgana and George, Britons at war with the invading Saxons. We also meet Sabra, a princess of Saline (a kingdom within modern day Libya), whose uncle is trying to establish his kingdom after years of Roman and Vandal dominance.
War is everywhere. An Empire is collapsing, new kingdoms and power structures are rising. The historical detail here is extremely interesting.
But hidden in the ashes is Gurzil, and evil dragon who has his own agenda and a legion of followers willing to do his bidding.
It’s an intriguing tale, deftly woven by the author. Using extracts of military records and taking inspiration from The Aenid and Beowulf, as well as Tolkien’s, The Fall of Arthur, the historical and fantastical are pulled together as Sabra and George try to help their people, and evade Gurzil, who is obsessed with capturing Sabra.
I must give a huge congratulations to the author regarding how well he has used established mythological/historical characters and made them their own. The chapters set in England in particular involves so many characters you will already know from Arthurian legends. We have Arthur, Morgana, Tristan, Iseult and George (the grandson of King Lear). But I also applaud how it doesn’t stay here. The fall of the Roman Empire throughout the rest of Europe and Africa is also examined. Sabra is a strong female protagonist and I enjoyed her chapters immensely.
The only issues were that sometimes a modern word or phrase would be used, which was a little jarring. And sometimes, especially at the start, perhaps a little too much history was given. However, neither issue stopped me from enjoying the story – and I will definitely be continuing with the series.
And so – I would recommend this book for readers who like this era of history, or are curious about it. The book takes a few chapters to set out the historical backdrop, but once this is established, the story moves quickly – and is a very enjoyable read. (Also – there is an evil dragon! 🐉 🐉 🐉)
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