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Fell Gard Greatness (so far)

By G.S. Williams, author of No Man An Island

Jul 30, 2011: Now this is how you start a fantasy epic:

Gral the dwarf is taken by magic mists to the mysterious dungeon known as Fell Gard, a place of myth built by his ancestors. The walls are ever changing, ever mysterious, and the place is filled with monsters.

Witherlings, the undead, are about to attack, and so the dwarf must wake the other trapped heroes—a human swordsman, William; an older cleric, Ulric; a warrior woman who identifies herself as a class called "Sorine;" and an elf. The group fights off the zombie-ish witherlings and protects a little girl named Trice who was raised by "glossologists," who the others think are wizards.

Gral has a secret—he carries an amulet and three tiny magic statue women who have to obey him, and helped the group survive. Worse, he plans to betray and kill someone down the road—and off into the dungeon they go.

The opening chapter has blow-by-blow action shown in excellent detail, and at the same time quickly establishes character traits through behaviour and dialogue. In short order the necessary elements of a story are all presented with skill: description, action, characterization, and a hook to keep you in suspense. The premise, of a magic changing labyrinth, is interesting, as is what might be motivating Gral. And the adventure beckons.

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