This is a spoiler-free review.
The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King
Published November 30th 2018 by Fallen Leaf Press.
John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.
It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.
Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.
Content Warnings: PTSD, torture, violence, starvation, murder
Thank you to the BBNYA team and The Write Reads Tours for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
Things haven’t been the same for John Carver since returning home from Afghanistan. Not since the dead – his former squad mates – have started to visit him. It doesn’t help that the same event that killed his squad mates is also the one that caused him to be known infamously as the ‘miracle of Kabul.’
Unable to get by on his own, John enlists the help of an old military friend who gets him a position as a security consultant for an important government official. The catch? The job will take him back to Afghanistan. And when things don’t go exactly as planned, soon John finds himself kidnapped and chained with little means for escape.
This is one of the most unique books I have ever read! I can easily see why it won the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award – it’s very well written, with eloquent descriptions and a plot impossible to predict! I’ve never read a book like this before – part sci fi/fantasy, part thriller. I had no idea what to expect when I picked it up, and even if I had, I doubt it would have measured up to the reality.
I really enjoyed how it was an urban fantasy. The main character, John Carver, is a soldier, dealing with severe trauma and survivors’ guilt. He’s literally haunted by the ghosts of his past. In fact, that trauma and guilt are integral to not only the plot, but John’s magical abilities. As a reader, it’s almost immediately evident the amount of research and work Austin-King must have put into this novel – and that’s where it really shines.
John Carver himself is such a great character. He’s witty, sarcastic, deeply flawed but nevertheless trying to get by as best he can given what he’s been through. He’s easy to like, easy to root for, and easy to read. His character really knew how to lighten a mood, especially given a lot of the events that transpired.
What kept me from really loving this book was just personal preferences, honestly. I’m not a huge fan of military fiction, nor did I really anticipate how much of the story was going to be centred around the torture. It became a little hard to read at some points. I also would have enjoyed a little bit more explanation given to the magical system.
And, while I loved John’s character, I found the others, Mackenzie in particular, to be a bit one-dimensional. Nevertheless, I do think the two of them had great chemistry on page, and it was fun – and a good reprieve! – to read their witty banter.
Overall, I think if you’re a fan of dark, grittier tales, military stories, and unique premises, this it the book for you.
About the Author
Graham Austin-King was born in the south of England and weaned on broken swords and half-forgotten spells.
A shortage of these forced him to consume fantasy novels at an ever-increasing rate, turning to computers and tabletop gaming between meals.
He experimented with writing at the beginning of an education that meandered through journalism, international relations, and law. To this day he is committed to never allowing those first efforts to reach public eyes.
After spending a decade in Canada learning what ‘cold’ really means, and being horrified by poutine, he settled once again in the UK with a seemingly endless horde of children.
To date he is the author of five novels, drawing on a foundation of literary influences ranging from David Eddings to Clive Barker.
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Have you ever read a Fantasy/Thriller before?
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