Haliden’s Fire, A Pine Tree Book, published, copyright and written by Christopher R. Sendrowski.
The plot is centered in a time of the past in a land comprised of nine kingdoms with Circle and Tritan the governing houses. The protagonist is a particularly famous artist who has returned home while fleeing from a conflagration that is engulfing the entire collection of kingdoms. It is being accepted as the will of the gods by a cult of ‘Firestarters” who aid and abet the carnage. To act as a carrier of the entire town’s important documents, he becomes a “runner’ for them in the hope of reaching a safe place and must dispose of all of his wealth and most of his pictures to join the masses fleeing before the rapidly moving flames. He is assailed by constant thoughts of the wife he lost by neglect through his incessant need to paint, although during his flight he does experience some happiness with his very first love, whom he again encounters and also loses. The flight takes him through numerous most unappealing and perhaps even revolting, situations and places during which he is under constant threat and actual attacks by others in flight, as well as by horrendous beasts. The story eventually reaches an unpredictable but logical finale.
Discussion: Basically this book is a dark fantasy thriller and has been very well received by several reviewers and they have provided their reasons. Contrarily and most regrettably, this reviewer is far from being in accord. Although I can appreciate and enjoy selections from among fantasy tales, this one impressed me rather negatively as repetitive activity on the same theme with the only differences being in slightly different approaches in similarly unpleasant circumstances and places. Unfortunately, from my perception the author has described quite succinctly the reason for our ‘differences of opinion’. In his “About the Author” statements at the end of the book he says that writers “dig and toil among our private wastes, sifting through toxic sands and sipping swill alongside beggars and scoundrels. It’s where I’m most at home, at peace. But like all things in life, it sometimes comes from darker times, darker places. It’s a toll worth paying, though, and perhaps what’s necessary to spur my particular muse.” This reviewer has published 4 award-winning novels (plus several text books) and most fortunately has not found it necessary to delve into such depths to gain the necessary insights to compose. Neither have any of the authors of my acquaintance. However, this is not criticism per se. It simply offers an explanation for this reader’s opinion of this book.
2* Explanation for this reader’s review above.