Talion: Revenant by Michael A. Stackpole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you’ve read any Star Wars novels, then you recognize the name of Michael Stackpole, one of the best of the stable of those authors. But that’s not the whole of what he’s written. He has many novels in both fantasy and scifi genres.
But Talion:Revenant is unique in that not only was it the first book he ever wrote, it has never been published. At least not in the traditional sense. Last year, Stackpole brought the book out of his archives, polished it up, and started selling it on his website (and through the regular ebook stores). Partly, he wanted to prove that good authors producing self-published ebooks can make a good living, but also so that this story could live. And if the book sells 5,000 copies, he’s promised a sequel. More than 1,200 have sold so far, and I have to imagine there are 3,800 people out there who don’t want another sparkly vampire book.
The world of the Talion is quite imaginative, in fact. I enjoy the interplay of justice with the concepts of mercy and honor as characters struggle between the need for the law to earn both deterrence and respect. Characters struggle within and without and while the book is not perfect—some of the plotting is a bit thin and races along a little too fast and some of the characters are a little flat—it’s quite enjoyable. In fact, there’s a bit of a Harry Potter feel at times (remember, this was a long time before Hogwarts was even conceived), a little bit of Ender’s Game, but on the whole, quite original.
At the least it’s worth $5 to see Stackpole revisit the world of the Shattered Empire after 25 years of honing his craft and see what he produces today. If you like Tolkien or Guy Gavriel Kay or Terry Brooks, you’ll enjoy Talion: Revenant.