I recently finished reading a new fantasy novel entitled “The Aduramis Chronicles: Destiny Of The Wulf” by Harrison Davies. Here is my review:
“Destiny of the Wulf”, the first part of a multi-volume series titled The Aduramis Chronicles, is an exceptionally self-assured debut novel by Harrison Davies. The tale revolves around two young brothers, Coinin and Marrok, and the path their unfolding destiny leads them, as protectors of an ancient Order in a time of darkness for the planet Er’ath. The story kicks off nicely, doing a good job setting the scene and introducing the characters, who are likeable and suitably engaging (except, of course, for the characters who are deliberately meant to be unlikeable, such as the boys’ nefarious, up-to-no-good uncle, Draken). My favourite character is definitely Menin, the wise yet no-nonsense Curator of an ancient temple. If there’s ever to be a film adaptation of this novel, I can’t imagine anyone other than Helen Mirren playing her. She’s so cool I actually think she deserves her own series of novels.
There are some grand and well-executed action scenes as the Order comes under attack, resulting in a number of fast-paced and compelling passages, including an altercation with a giant involving mind control. Fantasy fans will be pleased to find the tried-and-trusted staples of magic, orcs, elves, dwarves and dragons as well as some less familiar elements, such as sky pirates. The author also lets his imagination soar with some novel and highly original touches. I especially liked the notion of the temple infirmary accidentally detaching and floating about the planet, along with its wayward matron. This is one of a number of quirky touches I greatly enjoyed, and hope to see more of in future books.
The narrative is quite multi-layered, and features a number of interweaving strands and no less than three big villains lurking in the periphery. It’s a testament to the writing that I never found this overburdened or confusing, for everything flows nicely. As with any first book in a series, it’s hard to fully evaluate the story as there are so many threads being set up and chess pieces being moved around the board — and there’s a cliffhanger that will leave you anxious to find out what happens.
The pacing is generally good, although most of the big action scenes occurring during the first third of the book, and then events take a more introspective, contemplative turn as Coinin comes to learn of his destiny and undergo the necessary rites to assume his rightful role. These scenes work well, although the shift in tone took a little while to get used to. One surprising shift in the narrative was when the story begins focussing on the experiences of Dareth Jericho, who I’d assumed was a minor character until that point. I hadn’t initially bonded with the character so was surprised when it shifted to his perspective, but that quickly balanced out and integrated with the rest of the story.
All in all, “Destiny of the Wulf” is a first class book and an excellent debut. Like the best novels, I looked forward to reading it each night and I missed it when it was finished. You can’t really give much higher praise than that! I eagerly await the next book in the series.