SpecMusicMuse Review—The Brotherhood of Dwarves, Book 4: Between Darkness and Light
The fourth book of D.A. Adams’s epic fantasy series, The Brotherhood of Dwarves, takes place immediately after the Fall of Dorkhun. Roskin’s father, King Kraganere, is badly wounded, and Kraganere’s advisor, Sondious, has gone insane and usurped the throne. Meanwhile, outside the broken gates of Dorkhun, the Great Empire camps in the valley, preparing for invasion.
To save his father and the KiredurkKingdom, Roskin must unite the other Dwarven kingdoms in an alliance against the empire. Meanwhile, the half-elf, Kwark, sends Vishghu to convince her fellow ogres to aid the Kiredurks despite having just fought a devastating war with them. And Crushaw has a limited amount of time to turn a ragtag mass of elves into an army formidable enough to fight the empire.
And far to the east, a vicious and insane outcast has his own plans for the hero, Roskin.
In many ways, this book is what the three previous books were setting the stage for, and if the fifth book turns out the way the fourth book seems to be hinting expect to see some major epic battles to come, battles far greater than the one in here.
Adams has taken classic tropes in the genre that has existed since The Hobbit and has breathed fresh new life into them. While familiar enough to be identifiable, none of the races follow common stereotypes. It is a world more realistic, where not every elf or dwarf is good and not every orc is evil. And not all dwarves live underground: some, like Molgheon, are most at home in the wilderness. It is a world familiar to readers of Epic Fantasy but also possesses the grim and grit of Sword & Sorcery.
Adams makes you care about the characters, about the relationships, and about the world. And instead of characterizing the human-ruled Great Empire in a two-dimensional light, he shows, through an imperial captain, the moral complexities of the choices between loyalty and duty in an empire that is becoming decadent and complacent. You actually feel for what the captain has to go through despite him being one of the enemies.
The series as a whole is one of the best you’re ever going to find, whether from small press or large, and the fourth installment will keep you reading well past your bedtime.
Best to read while listening to: any epic music (Two Steps From Hell perhaps?) or epic fantasy soundtrack (you know which ones).