Friday, March 16, 2012

Awesome Omnibus: The Erevis Cale Trilogy by Paul S. Kemp

In a growing trend for The Awesome Omnibus feature, I’m featuring the past work of an author I’m reading RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT. Okay, maybe not RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT since I'm sitting at a desk in front of a computer, but the book I’m currently reading is is Paul S. Kemp’s forthcoming Sword and Sorcery novel The Hammer and the Blade publishing in June from Angry Robot

So, the Awesome Omnibus for today is The Erevis Cale Trilogy, one of Paul’s early works in the Forgotten Realms for the fine folks at Wizards of the Coast, a publisher with a long history of publishing their series in omnibus format. One of my RPG group friends was reading this omnibus when we last had our gaming session and was enjoying it. Fun Rob fact: The Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy, originally published as the big white book to the left when Wizards of the Coast was known as TSR, is one of the major gateway books that pulled me into fantasy.

Back to Paul, who has been plying his brand of Sword and Sorcery for a while now and when Wizards of the Coast released The Erevis Cale Trilogy as an omnibus, they repackaged the books more in line with his later Forgotten Realms novels by gracing the covers with iconic and superb artwork by Raymond Swanland who manages to pack so much energy and action into his images:

Although I don’t own the omnibus, I do have the books which comprise the omnibus as I reviewed the trilogy in their original Mass Market Paperback form as whole almost five years ago (!):

Paul S. Kemp’s Erevis Cale Trilogy is no exception; the quality of his writing and storytelling is what should be judged on its own merits, and those merits are quite good indeed. The story, as is no surprise given the title, follows the former assassin and a current priest of the dark god Mask as he tries to make peace with himself, for those he once respected, and to save the world.


The entire trilogy has a caper-like feel to it, as the titular character, himself a rogue, becomes embroiled in a plot to irrevocably change the world of Faerûn for the worse. Kemp introduces the villains, or antagonists, into the story line first. It does not become clear in the first book why the bad things are afoot; however. Cale, intends to get to the bottom of the matter, and takes his friends and the reader along for the ride. Kemp reveals these things to the reader as Cale and his companions discover what is occurring.


So, how to compare this book to others? Well, my only other experience reading anything from the Forgotten Realms was R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt novels, and some of my earliest reading in fantasy/science fiction was Weis/Hickman’s original DragonLance trilogy. The Erevis Cale Trilogy at the very least, holds up well against my memory of those books, not the least of which is due to Kemp’s ability to put the reader in the character’s head.

Basically, it's like this: if you are looking for some fun, entertaining novels in the sword and sorcery vein, this omnibus is fine place to go.

As with my Eli Monpress Awesome Omnibus Feature, I'll drop some other links/bits of information:

Sample chapters from Twilight Falling the first novel/book in this omnibus

Paul continues the story of Erevis Cale in the The Twilight War.

After some delays and changes at Wizards, Paul continues stories in his corner of the Forgotten Realms with Godborn, the first book of The Cycle of Night.

Paul's also been writing some well-received Star Wars novels.

Lastly, bringing this post full circle to what inspired it, here are samples from Paul’s forthcoming novel The Hammer and the Blade, his first non-shared world novel coming from Angry Robot in June. I’d go so far as to say the prologue works as an excellent short story, although the novel builds nicely on that foundation.

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