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Book Review

Book Cover

A Wizard's Tears


Author: Graig Gilbert
Booksurge Publishing
RRP: £14.99
ISBN: 978 1 419 61751 5
Available 05 December 2005

The time has come for Keldoran to leave his family home, to travel to the fabled city of gold, Malana, to study as a mage. What should be a bright future is forever altered when Lorkayn, an evil mage, is cast out of his own plane of existence, cast down into the world of Elrohen, his head filled with vision of a beautiful priestess who dwells in Malana. Seemingly unstoppable, Keldoran must use his innate earth magic to defeat the cancerous intruder...

A Wizards Tears is the debut novel of Craig Gilbert. First novels are often difficult children, a plethora of ideas married to a yet un-mastered skill and so it is with Tears.

The structure of the book is mundane enough: young man, unaware of his destiny goes off to fulfil some prophesy. I’ve seen it, bought the T-shirt in more books than I care to recall. So if the plot is unoriginal, what of the characters and narrative flow?

It is sad to say that the majority of characters are little more than cyphers, lacking real depth which would allow the reader to empathise with them. Our main man, Keldoran, is such a case as he goes from farm boy to powerful mage with only the flimsiest thoughts about the effect it would have on him. Lorkayn, likewise, is all teeth and snarls, a classic pantomime villain also lacking depth, whose only real saving grace is the fleeting soft porn dreams he has of the priestess. Gilbert seems more intent on spending time with Lorkayn, without realising that he is probably the least interesting character in the story.

Apart for a bit of an obsession with describing the weather Gilbert has not spent nearly enough time on the description of his new world, which, like his characters, remains sketchy at best. Clearly Gilbert can write a coherent plot, but often he stumbles on the smaller details, there is a jarring use of occasional modern idioms, which do not sit well with the rest of the text and jars the reader out of the flow of the narrative.

Tolkien has a lot to answer for, having unwittingly produced generations of fantasy writers who seem more interested in drawing maps with silly place names, that make the story harder to read, than spend time on penning a good story about people the reader might care about.

There is part of me that feels I may have been a little too hard on Gilbert, but it’s only a small part as he has spent his time, not inconsiderable effort and creative juices, producing an average fantasy book, which falls foul of all the clichés of the genre, without adding anything original of his own.


Charles Packer

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