Thursday, March 29, 2012

Seven Princes by John R. Fultz, a Review

What do you want out of your fantasy? Mythmaking in the mold of JRR Tolkien’s The Silmarillion? Freebooting adventure, decaying civilizations, and heroic swordplay a-la Robert E. Howard? Weird, extraplanar demonic horrors like those encountered in the fiction of HP Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith? You get all of this stuff in John Fultz’ gonzo debut novel Seven Princes, both to our benefit and occasionally our detriment.

Seven Princes is bold, brash, and big. This is a novel written with bright strokes of character and setting, bursting with world-shaking adventure, intrigue, and conflict. It reads big, and feels big, and it’s unrepentantly so. In a “Meet the Author” Q&A at the back of the book Fultz describes the influences and raw materials that underlie Seven Princes. These are legion—Lord Dunsany, Howard, Lovecraft, Smith, Tolkien, Tanith Lee, Darrell Schweitzer, and others—so it’s no surprise Seven Princes contains multitudes. But underneath it all is a strong epic fantasy undercurrent, shot through with swords and sorcery. Says Fultz:
A writer’s sensibility is, I think, determined largely by his or her influences… what you’ve read most and where your passions lie. You write what you love. That said, writers like to stretch themselves too. For me, the whole epic/heroic fantasy realm is where I’ve been heading since I began reading fantasy as a kid in the late 1970s. Some have also called my work “sword and sorcery” but nobody can give a solid definition of what that actually is. For me, the bottom line is that I just Do My Thing and let my passion for storytelling lead me where I need to go.
To read the rest of this post, visit The Black Gate website.