Sometime Lofty Towers
A Thoughtful Look at Aging Mercenaries and Their Last Hurrah
At first glance, one might think David C Smith's latest novel is just another sword and sorcery novel. But it's not. Not by a longshot. This isn't a novel about overly-muscled, barbarian warriors and half-naked damsels. This is really epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, with depth and meaning, and thoughtfulness, much like Smith's masterpiece, Fall of the First World Trilogy. Sure, it has some of the tropes and motifs of sword and sorcery, but the author knows those all too well and wisely chose not to overuse them or rely on them. For instance, there are no sorcerers and witches casting spells and summoning demons with the wave of a hand. No, the magic is inherent in this world - it's part of the world the author so carefully and lovingly created. It's earth magic, magical realism, and it's at the heart of Kirangee culture and society - an ancient, native people who were nearly wiped out years earlier during the Border Wars, as they were exploited and their lands stolen from them. The main character is the veteran mercenary Hanlin, who, like his fellow warrior Thorem, once fought against the Kirangee. But now many years have passed, and both men have grown older, and Hanlin begins to see things, to see life, in a different light. Both characters are stand-outs - solid and real, and world-weary. There is a literary quality to this novel, and the dialog is thoughtful, reflective, and insightful, and it moves the story along as it reveals the hearts and souls of all its characters. This novel is timely in it politics and message, crucial in its themes, but is never preachy, and Smith is wise enough to show restraint in his proselytizing, letting his characters speak for him, and for themselves. This novel is at once peaceful and quiet, almost lyrical in its elegant prose, but it's also loud and savage, gruff and gritty. Smith does not ignore the action, either, and he really delivers on his battle scenes. This is a story of evil, greedy men and women who fight to take what they want from others, and destroy what they do not want or need, or even understand. But Hanlin "gets it," and his personal arc is like an epiphany, forcing him to see things, understand things in he could never realize in his younger days. This puts him at odds with Thorem, and they part ways. But as the back cover hints, their "destinies will nevertheless become entangled once more as both are drawn back to the frontier that saw their earlier glories - and failures." If you enjoy intelligent dialog, fine writing, and battles that will make you hear the clash of steel, if you enjoy a tale well told, a tale told with the realism of actual history, "Sometime Lofty Towers" is the novel to read.
Published by Pulp Hero Press. Available in paperback and Kindle editions. Sometime Lofty Towers