It is the autumn of 2019. Merlin’s wayward apprentice has escaped from the Tower of London with his raven familiars. Legend foretells that the White Tower, then England, will fall.
Can King Arthur, a weary veteran of the English Civil War, Waterloo and the Somme, prevent the Ravenmaster from exacting his revenge?
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“We are not the heroes of old, warriors of legend that exist in the storybooks, embellished by each new author…We are here, in this land, of this land, and in truth, it is as unified as it ever will be”
The Ravenmaster awakens and the fate of the whole of England hangs in the balance in Jacob Sannox’s riveting Arthurian Fantasy novel, The Ravenmaster’s Revenge. This is a tale that explores an alternate history of our own, and tells of the immortal king and his devoted knights, bound by a loyalty that transcends the ages. Their obligation to protect their country is a long and arduous task, going so far as to pose the thought-provoking question of “what is a country?” – its rulers, its people, or the land itself? Within this book’s pages vengeance and its damaging consequences take center stage as old rivalries fueled by fanaticism resurface from the annals of history, lying in wait to wreak havoc on the unworthy. Original storytelling, remarkably developed characters, and charming settings, The Ravenmaster’s Revenge is an incredible story for those looking for something a bit different.
Sannox presents this story in a thoroughly unique and engaging way; the main narrative takes place in modern-day London, but the story is spliced with accounts of pivotal points in England’s history during times of war and unrest. Present events are clearly chronicled, then the various points in time are utilized to dig deeper to explain the whats and whys, adding admirable richness to this relatively short book. Whether we’re learning the reasoning behind the rage of a powerful man or the significance of a particular weapon, there are an abundance of little treasures to be discovered along our journey. He also wonderfully captures the concept of transformative change and its jarring effects on the ageless. Imagine hailing from a time thousands of years in the past, but forced to adapt to today’s world and all the technology it carries along with it. Intimidating, isn’t it?
This tale is filled to the brim with an sprawling cast of familiar, yet freshly portrayed characters. At the center lies Arthur, a man steadfast in his duties to protect, yet a soul battered by the ages and longing for peace, and Merlin, a man with untold power attempting to right the wrongs he’s wrought, all while lamenting the path taken by a boy he once loved and respected. Their actions act as direct catalysts for the events that transpire throughout the centuries, all while knowing their decisions would shape what’s to come. Merlin’s apprentice, Branok, acts as the antagonist of this story, feverishly working to transform the workings of the world into one he sees fit, though through sinister means. While the general tone of this story is somber, there is a bit of comic relief throughout attributed to the brilliant dynamics between the characters. Whether Merlin is being forced to withstand the onslaught of modern retellings of his legend, or the banter between knights fills the quiet silence, I welcomed these moments of respite with open arms.
In addition to an intelligently told narrative and some incredible character development, the charming depiction of England and all the beauty and history it has to offer the world is what drew me in the most. I’ve personally never been, but Sannox paints a vivid picture that completely immersed me in a land that seemed so very familiar. From the bustling metropolitan, to the quaint snow-laden countryside, and everything in between, there’s just an ultimate comfort to be found in the world he builds around us. Fragments of historical events with new twists deliver us to moments in time highlighting the importance of past strife, a bold and wise decision. Infusing the mundane with the fantastical is a surefire way to grab my attention, and I found it too easy to lose myself in this book he’s penned. I read the entirety of it in one sitting, and immediately craved more.
The Ravenmaster’s Revenge is a compelling and moving read that caught me completely by surprise. I’ve been looking for a book that strays from my usual reading diet, and I’m so grateful I’ve been given the chance to spread my wings a bit. This particular story arc concludes nicely and can definitely be read as a standalone novel, but there’s more adventures to behold in the rest of the The Return of King Arthur series. If you’re looking for a classic tale told with a modern twist, then this may be just the one you need – I thoroughly recommend. Onto Agravain’s Escape!
NOTE: A huge thank you to the author for a complementary advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’m a 36 year old fantasy writer from the sunny climes of Bedfordshire, England.
I currently have two ongoing fantasy series.
The Dark Oak Chronicles – Dark epic fantasy.
The first book, Dark Oak, was a semi-finalist in Mark Lawrence’s 2018 SPFBO competition. It is available on Amazon and from many other retailers. The second book, Age of the Dryad, will be released in 2020.
The Return of King Arthur – Arthurian fantasy with both historic and modern settings.
The first book, The Ravenmaster’s Revenge, was a semi-finalist in Mark Lawrence’s 2019 SPFBO competition. It is also currently available on Amazon and from many other retailers. The second book, Agravain’s Escape, is out now.
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