Draig: Book 2 of the Call of the Lorica. 274 pages. Self-published.
Once again, I get to introduce you to an author and a work introduced to me via the Goodreads thread devoted to Christian speculative fiction authors. We’ve had a lot of fun reading each others’ books over the past few months, and I think we are close to the end. The exercise has shared with me a vast variety of ways writers are sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in creative ways with their audiences.
Draig is a high fantasy story, and at times, especially at first, I struggled with the story. I will explain more later, but it calls for patience. Here is the Amazon summary:
The world of Canard was nearly destroyed 500 years ago, when Dissonance entered the Song and the majisters disappeared. Now, the majisters have returned and they have a mission: find the refrains of the Lorica and clear their name. High King Tenneth is now dead and there will soon be a succession tournament. And on top of everything else, Trystan cannot get Esseylte out of his mind. What’s a bard to do? Join Dane, Trystan and a fae named Sara as they work to save Canard and defeat the Conclave.
On the surface, it sounds like a straightforward sword-and-sorcery story. But what makes Draig unique is its use of Welsh (I believe) fantasy and mythology, and the story is heavy in the use of creatures that most readers won’t be familiar with. To be honest, I spent at least half the book trying to understand what I was reading. I felt like the story really needed a glossary to help me understand what everything (faes, cyntaes, chymaerae, matins, faisants, etc.) were, and then at the very end discovered there WAS a glossary/lexicon. But because it was at the end, and nothing at the beginning told me it was there, I couldn’t/didn’t use it. It was also a problem that this was the second book in the series, and I hadn’t read the first.
That was the biggest problem I had with the story. Now on to the good parts.
Anne Miles does a wonderful job of world building here. She not only creates a world (Canard) that stands on its own, but links it to our world in ways that I can’t share here, but were intriguing. Music plays a significant role in the story, and she weaves it into the story in a spiritual and magical way. She is also very good at description, and I found myself enjoying her storyweaving very much simply for the images she wove.
Summary: if you like fantasy, pick this one up, (maybe read the book one first), but PLEASE read the lexicon in the back first. It will help tremendously. Then immerse yourself in her world.
I give it three and a half stars out of five.