I’ve been a fan of Chuck Gannon for quite a while, having discovered his Caine Riordan novels about ten years ago. The time and effort he puts into his world building really pays off in the substance of his writing. So, when I discovered he was branching out into fantasy, I just had to take a look.
The first book of his The Vortex of Worlds Series – This Broken World – was an absolute treat to read, and you can find out what I thought in the link provided at the end of this review.
Into the Vortex continues Druadaen’s adventures– and indeed, those of his erstwhile companions – as they try to discover the disparities riddling the land in which he lives, and especially, why knowledge of the truth might prove so fatal.
Here’s the blurb:
A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing . . . but knowing the full truth might get you killed.
Druadaen, Outrider for the once-mighty Dunarran Consentium, has proven that there are irreconcilable contradictions between magic and physics on Arrdanc, the world of his birth. And what is his reward for this important discovery, made against all odds and at considerable personal risk? Exile—organized and compelled by nervous temple hierarchs.
However, Druadaen remains determined to uncover what several ancient persons and beings have urged him to seek: “the truth of the world”—which might only be gained by traveling beyond it. Indeed, the mysterious Lady of the Mirror speculates that he might find the answers by journeying to the other side of her unusual looking glass: a reflective, ethereal portal that she calls a “shimmer.”
But there’s a catch: because the mysterious portal only allows a single person to pass through, Druadaen must leave his companions behind. Unfortunately, once he has, they discover that the “shimmer” only allows travelers to leave Arrdanc, not return to it. So his friends, led by stalwart swordsman Ahearn, resolve to find another means by which they can retrieve Druadaen—and with him, the truth of the world.
There’s just one small problem with their quest: the closer they come to finding a solution, the more obvious it becomes that various powers on Arrdanc don’t want them to succeed. In fact, they’d rather Druadaen doesn’t return at all.
Yes, the reaction of those in power doesn’t add up. After all, why would they exile someone if all they were doing was searching for the truth?
We begin to see the answer to that question when Druadaen and his companions actually seek counsel with the Lady of the Mirror, and Druadaen ends up stepping through a mysterious portal into an entirely different world. He discovers people there, much like those from home, who have also endured chaos at the hands of an unknown power – from long, long ago – the likes of which was unmatched by all but the gods. And get this. The echoes of that chaos are similar to that on Arrdanc.
Of course, his friends are left floundering in his wake, so they also begin trying to fit the pieces of this larger puzzle together. In doing so, they begin to appreciate that the real truth as to the origins of Arrdanc has been hidden from mankind. And if they want answers, they’ll need to follow in Druadaen’s footsteps and journey across time and space to find them.
Thereafter, our story is told from two perspectives: By Druadaen, after his journey through the shimmer; and by his friends, who continue their efforts to be reunited with their friend, as they also strive to uncover the truth.
As before, the story arc is as compelling as it is thoroughly entertaining. It’s vivid, it’s bright, and dark and menacing. Murder, mystery, and mayhem, and abound in equal measure. That, along with engaging characters and an appealing, ‘you’re one of us’ dialogue helps to immerse you in the trials and tribulations of the gang as they begin to pick apart the scales masking the truth, to reveal a truly astonishing revelation As they do so, a bigger, much more complex, and insidious picture begins to emerge. (Fantastic world building there), which really adds an additional weight to an already well-established foundation.
Now, as to what that maleficent cancer is, you’re given plenty of clues (adding to those sprinkled throughout the first book). And as it continues eating away at the fabric of the world, you can only begin to imagine what’s coming. And whatever it is, it’ll be huge. The tension is building, and I for one can’t wait to see what happens.
And isn’t THAT what it’s all about?
Go on, enjoy yourself. It’ll be one hell of a ride.
This Broken World – Amazon link:
Into the Vortex – Amazon link: