BOOK REVIEW – A BLACKBIRD IN SILVER 1986 NEW ENGLISH LIBRARY

 

First of five books in an epic and beautifully presented fantasy series. Essentially, this is a straightforward quest story in which three heroes set out to destroy an omni-potent serpent demon that threatens to destroy their World (a parallel Earth).

 

Estarinel is a healer, and a mystical figure that has survived the serpent’s attack on his home city, and hopes to kill it before it can wreak such terror on others. Ashurek is a more complex figure, a military commander from a Caesarean Roman-like empire’s army. His people were noted for heir brutality and cruelty, but as Ashurek grew, the new emperor, his own brother, who had resorted to using demons to secure and maintain power, resented him. In an effort to fight the demons, Ashurek found himself possessed and imprisoned by one, but a powerful sorceress, with who he fell in love, rescued him. However, she was captured by powerful demons serving the Serpent, so Ashurek also seeks its destruction.  The third member of the party is Medrian, who refuses to tell her story or reveal anything about her. By the end of volume one she remains enigmatic and unknown, though she seems to be virtually indestructible.

 

The Earth they inhabit is affected by dimensional planes, which can transport travellers unwittingly to other regions. The first part of the quest involves actively seeking the Blue Plane regions. The companions travel initially by ship, drawn by giant sea-horses, but get trapped in the White Plains, face a powerful witch who has a city veiled in illusions, and face an army of zombies raised by a necromancer who was a former enemy to Ashurek. The discovery of the Blue Plain gives the heroes some hope and heralds the beginning of the next phase of their terrible quest.

 

The book was Warrington’s first, and heralds a very promising career in fantasy and horror writing.

 

Arthur Chappell

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