fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Brian Cullen Seekers of the ChaliceSeekers of the Chalice by Brian  Cullen

Seekers of the Chalice is the story of a small group of heroes who set out to recover the Chalice of Fire, a symbol of peace for Ulster, after it is stolen from the Red Branch by a traitor.

The premise behind the book, which is an attempt to do a high fantasy retelling of the traditional Celtic myth Táin Bó Cúailnge, is great. However, the execution falters. The characters are flat, the dialogue stilted, and the plot is an endless series of near identical battles against every imaginable dark creature. Pixies and goblins and werewolves, oh my!

Cullen commits the cardinal sin for a writer by telling — not showing — the story. His attempt to lay out the entire back story in the first few pages leaves Seekers of the Chalice feeling like lecture notes for a class on Irish Mythology. It then morphs into a bad novelization of someone’s D&D campaign.

Even though Seekers of the Chalice was an easy read, it wasn’t an entertaining one, and it left me with no desire to continue reading. I’d be interested in seeing if Cullen improves over time. He can come up with some interesting concepts, but his implementation is lacking. Maybe with more experience, his execution can live up to his ideas.


Seekers — (2008-2009) Publisher: In the time when gods and men walked the earth along with demons, the Chalice of Fire, the symbol of peace for Ulster, is stolen from the Red Branch by Bricriu Poisontongue. A small band of Seekers sets out to recover and return the Chalice to the Red Branch to restore peace to the Ulster kingdom. The Seekers are a group of two elves, Bern and Lorges; Cumac, the son of Cucullen, the greatest Red Branch warrior; Fedelm of the Sidhe; Tarin, the Swordwanderer; and the wizard-druid, Seanchan. Together they must make their way through the world brought as Maliman, the evil wizard, uses his powers to stop them as he seeks the Chalice himself to bend its magic to his will. The Seekers battle their way through the creatures of darkness that threaten to conquer the world.  But they are determined to bring light back from darkness and restore the land that has fallen into ruin and decay with the theft of the Chalice. An epic tale that brings to mind the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, David Gemmell, and R.A. Salvatore, Seekers of the Chalice is the first book of a trilogy that explores the ongoing battle between good and evil in a land that is teetering on darkness.

seekers of the chalice brian cullen reviewBrian Cullen The Valley of Shadows book review


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.