Friday, February 10, 2012

The Caldarian Conflict
by Mike Kalmbach

 When his duties lead him to console a condemned pirate, Brother Mendell begins investigating a series of odd occurences within the Caldarian navy. He learns that the navy is recruiting dying and homeless men for suicide missions, and not all the sailors are aware they're leaving on their final voyage. Mendell is faced with a dangerous conundrum: help save the lawless pirates or aid the navy in murder.

The Caldarian Conflict is a solid effort. It has well-drawn characters and settings, and believable dialogue with some pirate-y flair. I also like that the author, Mike Kalmbach, has taken the time to create a mythology for his world, complete with a pantheon of gods and goddesses.

The major flaw in this book is that it's slow-moving, with very little suspense. This is a result of the omniscient narrator: readers are kept abreast of the doings of each character at all times, so there is no action that an antagonist takes that the reader isn't expecting. I found I had no problem setting this book down to do other things. Also, the protagonist, Brother Mendell, is just a little too good. The sadist in me wanted to see him struggle with something salacious from his past, just because he's a monk. No go. He'd struggle with momentary judgments, before reassuring himself and getting on with the business at hand. I really wanted to see him screw something up badly, but he's just too levelheaded.

So, I recommend The Caldarian Conflict to readers of high fantasy who enjoy a well-constructed world.  And now, the book trailer!

Copy source: provided free by the author
Genre: fantasy
Format: e-book

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