“US readers can find this under ‘The Warded Man’.”



Every night, demons (or corelings) rise up and will rip apart any animal or human they find. The only protection against these incursions are wards which can be engraved/painted onto any suitable surface. However, they have to be drawn correctly and have to be properly spaced in order to be fully effective. As a result of this struggle, humankind has been reduced from a population of millions in a technologically advanced society to tens of thousands living in mainly small farming settlements. We join the story some 300 years or so after the commencement of this nightly struggle.

I really like this book, not just because the writing style is accessible (it is) and not just because the story is good (it is). There are three intriguing aspects to the novel.

First of all, as far as I am aware, this is a truly unique mythos. I read a lot of fantasy and have not come across anything like this before. There are themes and common ideas running through a lot of fantasy as authors are inspired by one another. This is very different.

Secondly, humans know that things have not always been this way. They also know that this has happened before. Their dating system has “AR” in it which stands for “After the Return [of the demons]”. This begs the question what happened to make the demons *once more* rise just over 300 years ago? More interestingly, what happened to make them stop rising and thus allow human society to become so populous and technologically advanced? Can it happen again?

Finally, there are hints that this may be our world (or one very like it) in which things have gone horribly wrong at some point in the future. I am therefore not even sure it should be considered a fantasy novel at all. Given the storyline there is at least an argument for saying it is dystopian or horror.

This is the first in a series of novels which is not yet complete but I have to confess that I am hooked and *really* want to see if any of my questions above are answered and how Brett resolves his story.


Reviewed by:

Debbie McCarthy

Added 1st May 2015

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Debbie McCarthy