4 out of 4 stars
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The Fires of Virko by Matthew Tysz chronicles the life adventures of Galen Bray that started in the previous novel of the We are Voulhire series. Galen now resumes life as his uncle’s heir in Voulhire after leaving the embattled Lands of the Princes. He happened to enlist the services of Rowan, the executor of his uncle’s will, who also acts as his adviser in the forge business that comprises a part of his inheritance. Together, he and Rowan managed to contract the services of the mage, Demetrius, who is also an imbuer, and knowledgeable regarding magical ores dug in the mines of Voulhire. Galen’s forge is in Magnum Caelum, but his supplies had to be sourced from among the neighboring towns or cities and could be affected by events occurring in these places, or in the whole kingdom, in general.
And so it was that Galen’s order for supplies of steel from Alcovia was compromised by the massacre at Hillport. Hillport is the potential buyer of Galen’s products. Now, suppliers think that Galen has no more market, so they diverted to Virko the steel that was intended for him. Demetrius, being a native of Virko, himself, has to pull some strings, renew ties with childhood friends and schoolmates who happen to be now in positions of power in Virko, so as to retrieve their supplies back. And that means getting the blessings of Lord Venden, Virko’s ailing lord, or if not, play footsie with Virko’s nobles. Fortunately, their wish was granted by Lord Venden, but not without its price: They have to cleanse Venden’s Rendenhide manor house of the demons kept and bound there by his son, Folcro. Could the trio measure up to this task?
Matthew Tysz has the uncanny ability to keep your attention glued to the trio, Galen, Rowan, and Demetrius while in the neighboring towns or cities around them unfold fateful events. For instance, during the interim, the dancing Riva Rohavi storms Hillport, the awesome collective magic of the evil mages shatters the ships and battlements of Barcaide in Lorcia’s Isle, Meldorath unleashes his magic against the Eiodi in Diadem at Yamon Soul and many more. A spate of attacks, demonic or otherwise, befell Voulhire’s territories during these times.
Matthew Tysz could also be credited with being somewhat innovative. But I must say that his use of virus in the novel seems incongruous with the apparent timeframe of the story. At a time when even electric power was yet unknown, to talk of viruses which came to be seen only with the advent of electron microscopes is not a good idea. Voulhire has taken steps toward industrialization, but even then, mages and alchemists should be far yet from reporting as though they are paraphrasing from medical journals of today.
In one of the repartees among Galen’s friends, Rowan spoke about a Golf course. Records show that the game of golf came to be invented only around the 15th century. And the way this novel goes, it looks as if its timeline predates that of golf by centuries. It is apparent that Voulhire is about the Germanic people --- judging from their propensity for using the salutation Herr --- but I doubt if the rudiments of the sports of golf could have already filtered down to Germany or its environs during these times, notwithstanding their proximity to Scotland where golf originated.
Readers of the first novel of the We are Voulhire series might follow up on this one, as this is next in line. And I vehemently advise that they do for this is a thrilling fantasy read. It is enjoyable, with only a few typos to deserve a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.
We are Voulhire: The Fires of Virko
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