Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Revenant Revenant
by Bevan McGuiness
Harper Voyager

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Bevan McGuiness is a writer new to me, although he has had published six novels, in two trilogies, featuring the very long-lived necromancer Sondelle. Revenant is the sixth novel and completes the second trilogy set in the eleven kingdoms. I had to read that title twice because I misread it the first time and for a few pages laboured under the illusion I was reading a series set in the elven [sic] kingdoms.

Revenant is really the story of Sondelle’s Slave, a person so much a creature of Sondelle he has no name of his own and is simply referred to by all and sundry as Slave, and a friendly acquaintance Keshik – two highly skilled and almost equally matched warriors. These two, plus a cast of supporting characters and bit players, attempt to rid the world of two mutually opposed but almost co-vivant revenants; beings stuck in an aeons long dysfunctional relationship that has gone way past the murder-while-sleeping phase.

Being the third book in the current cycle, I fully expected to find Revenant difficult to get into, confusing even; but it is a tribute to Mr McGuiness’s writing that after the briefest of scene setting chapters I was able to pick up the threads of the story with the least of difficulty.

The front cover of Revenant has a quote likening Bevan McGuiness’s style to that of David Gemmell and Joe Abercrombie (two big names in the swords-and-mayhem style of fantasy) but sadly I am unfamiliar with the works of either of these authors so cannot attest to the veracity or otherwise of the quote. What I can say is that Revenant was an action rich, proper page-turner of a book, which made it a really fun read.

While this book would not claim to be a cordon bleu of a dish, I can comfortably say that by extension of the metaphor Revenant is a well prepared chow mein or fried rice. I found it an excellent place to start with the writings of Bevan McGuiness. I invite you to sample his works too.

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