The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs: A pastiche still needs to entertain

The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs by James P. Blaylock

Langdon St. Ives returns in The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs, James P. Blaylock’s latest Langdon St. Ives Adventure.

St. Ives is described as “the greatest, if largely unheralded, explorer and scientist in the Western World … piecing together a magnetic engine for a voyage to the moon.” Unfortunately, the premise of The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs is less ambitious than its protagonist. Although our heroes are explorers and scientists, they do little exploring here. In fact, they don’t even leave England. Worse, there is little mention of magnetic engines or steam engines, though an emerald’s power has a slight impact on the plot.

The adventure begins with an outbreak of madness at the Explorer’s Club, but don’t expect t... Read More

The First Chronicle of Druss the Legend

The First Chronicle of Druss the Legend by David Gemmell

The First Chronicle of Druss the Legend is the sixth book in David Gemmell’s non-sequential series, the Drenai Saga. It’s a prequel to the first Drenai book, Legend, and I think it’s the perfect prequel because it actually enhances his Druss stories by not being in chronological order.

Renegade soldiers turned slavers massacre a mountain village and take Druss’s wife, the seeress, Rowena. Desperate and enraged, the young country bumpkin takes up a battle-ax (inherited from his infamous grandfather) to begin a quest that will take him across half the world and last over seven years. Druss fights slavers, pirates, wars, outlaws, demons, and Death itself to rescue the love of his life. Thus is how le... Read More