Title – The Sun Shard (Flint and Steel, Fire and Shadow. Book 1)
Author – Rob Bayliss
Genre – Historical Fantasy
Length – 443 Pages
Publication – June 2013
My Rating – 4/5 Stars
Once, men and neanderthals shared the Summerlands between the Cheama Sea to the South and the Hailthorn Mountains in the North. But from across the seas the Empire came, borne on huge clockwork driven ships, their black powder alchemy proved stronger than flint axes, steel swords and naked courage. The old ways were seemingly lost, as the new Fire God blazed brightly; the tribes subdued, the Flint Folk exiled beyond the Hailthorns.
Seven generations later the Empire prepares for war with a ruthless and cruel enemy to the South. To fuel their war machine, the Empire demands levies of men and taxes from its northern provinces during the summer muster. One such levy is a young Gewichas warrior, Tuan Blackstone. Called to the banners, he faces a harsh future under the iron discipline of his Commander, but a brighter destiny is revealed to him that unites the cause of the peoples of the Summerlands in magic that predates the Empire’s alchemy.
But behind the light of his destiny long shadows grow, war and treachery have come to the Summerlands.But who will survive to see the dawn of a new Britannia, and who will fall to feed the ravens?
We follow Tuan in world of magic, swords, guns and large beasts that taps into our own history. It’s a harsh world where men fight wars and women are can be used solely to please a man.
The whole idea of a Sun Shard was intriguing, the flint folk chosen by the shards to protect and use the power, suppressed and beating, waiting for the one to come to lead them back into the Summerlands.
Rob paints a very interesting world indeed with lots of colourful characters to enjoy, my favourites being Bronic (his back story was brilliant, really enjoyed seeing the big man’s motivations), and Kaziviere (The way Rob made my feelings about this character change during the book was brilliant).
Bronic has to be my favourite though; the back story coupled with his red rage gave him something the others in the book just didn’t have in my eyes. I’ve high hopes he will get more page time in the next book. I would love to see the way he communicates with Tuan become a vital part in the plot somehow.
So you’re wondering why only a 4 star.. well if I’m honest in parts I just felt things happened too fast..Tuan gets passed the sun shard and after the visions that accompany it his meaning in life changes in an instant and it would have been nice to see him have come to terms with the responsibility left at his feet a bit more. I also felt as Tuan holds the sun shard he would be the most pivotal character but he doesn’t develop much throughout the book for me..
The major plus point for this book is however another book is planned..We will hopefully see Tuan develop further. Rob has given us such a lush plot with so much potential that I’ll definitely be adding the next book to my TBR pile.
In conclusion Rob Bayliss brings us a brilliant historical fantasy book with so much going on, and that has so much potential that you really should read it. I can see this becoming a very good series of books indeed and I look forward to seeing how the plot progresses.