It is told in the annals of the ancient days how it was their splendid horses that first brought the Elabaeans in to the knowledge of the men of Maruda. For in those days…
Thus begins the epic Tale of Manaeth , an excellent novella by Phillip Campbell… Reading it really did remind me of the Iliad, and other ancient lays told to recount the history of a land and its people, which was just as it says on the back cover:
Written in the epic style of such classics as the Iliad and the Silmarillion, the Tale of Manaeth tells the story of a young princess hesitantly thrust into a place of leadership among her people in the midst of a brutal war against a powerful foreign aggressor… Though hope is slim, through much suffering and many savage battles, she becomes a mighty and victorious queen and the foundress of a nation.
I would also agree that there is a similarity to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion, but it is more the style than the substance… there are no elves here, no dwarves, wizards, or supernatural gems…. There is mystery, however, epic battles, an echo of ancient times long forgotten, all adding up to a fascinating tale well worth the reading.
The dedication of the book is to St. Joan of Arc, and this is fitting considering the inspiring story of Manaeth’s life and her unlikely leadership and victory against a strong and ruthless foe.
The first fifteen pages or so is mostly backstory … very important back story … so keep reading until the main story starts … you won’t be disappointed!
Also, there are lots and lots of characters in the story, dazzlingly so. But do not fear because, in epic style, you are reminded of who they are throughout the story so you don’t really need the glossary in the back of the book… If you get lost, though, it is good to know you can always refer to it.
I really must say that this book is a classic. Well written, with excellent pacing, Phillip has accomplished something remarkable here.
Recommended for all lovers of epic fantasy, assuming of course that you are 13 years or older!
And keep your eye out for book two in the series, Paladologies, hopefully coming out this summer.
To purchase Tale of Manaeth, click here.