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Posted March 11, 2012
Dark Solus is one of the deadliest assassins on Earth. Like Batman, Dark’s parents have been murdered; unlike Batman, Dark’s parents weren’t murdered by a street thug but by an evil wizard, Kalifen, and the ruthless leaders of the guilds of the Assassins, Thieves, and Halflings. Why would anyone want them murdered? Perhaps it’s because his mom was a witch, and his father’s name was Demon, and they stood opposed to Kalifen and the guilds. His grandfather, the shape-shifting dragon named Mephistopheles, aids Dark as he plans his revenge against everyone responsible for his parents’ deaths. That, in a nutshell, is the plot of the brilliant dark science fiction fantasy novel Dark Solus: An Assassin’s Tale by debut author David Andrew Crawford.
The novel opens with a bang. In the exciting first chapter, we read about Dark’s origin story, of how his pregnant mother and his father, Demon, are being pursued by statues who magically come to life. Though Kalifen and the other conspirators fail in this attempt to murder Dark’s parents, he eventually succeeds. This chapter I thought was a good way to open the novel, as it gives us background information about Dark while it also entrances the reader with great fight and chase scenes.
The action and suspense doesn’t let up from there. Dark is aided in his goal of revenge by the training he receives from the Styg, the warden of the Stygian depths, and his grandfather, Mephistopheles, who, as I mentioned, is a dragon. Dark is transformed into one of the greatest assassins who ever lived, and he is armed with an array of deadly weapons and his mother’s skills at witchcraft and knowledge of the dark arts.
After twelve long years of training and education in the dark arts, Dark travels to the City of Duergar, to confront his enemies in their very home territory. It’s a long time for one to plan his revenge, but for Dark, that makes the eventual destruction of his enemies all the sweeter! However, as his grandfather explains to him, Dark must “equip yourself with powerful magical items.” The problem is that no one seems to know what the items are, nor who has control over them–that is, except the Norn, the “three sisters of fate.” Dark must first obtain the Horn of the Norns from the Island of Turning. Easier said than done, as it’s defended by “the Harpy Sisters,” and the Norn are pretty creepy, in their own right.
With the knowledge that his grandfather provides him, Dark–who dubs himself “Demon Raider,” naming himself in honor of his parents–embarks on the dangerous quest to locate the magical items he will need to defeat his enemies. His journey is fraught with adventures and danger, and even with the help of his grandfather, the magical items he recovers, and the training he’s received from the Styg, there’s no guarantee that he will be able to defeat and destroy his many enemies.
If you enjoy reading Sword & Sorcery novels, Dark Solus: An Assassin’s Tale by David Andrew Crawford is a book you’ll definitely want to add to your Must Read lists. The novel is set in a place and a time when the boundaries between our world and reality and that of the kingdoms of Faerie were not rigidly in place. Crawford vividly depicts the world and time the novel takes place in, showing formidable skills as a world-builder. I look forward to reading more from David in the future, and I highly recommend Dark Solus: An Assassin’s Tale to anyone who is a fan of dark fantasy novels.
Posted August 3, 2011
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite
Dark Solus, The Assassin, is a dark tale of revenge. This tale grabs your interest from the beginning by introducing you to Dark's parents. The story begins in the dark of night with two figures, hunted. Elim tried to send his love, half elfin, Leynorr to safety for she carried his child. She managed to escape to the Albatross and waited for her beloved. After battling animated rock statues, Halflings, humanoids, and Kalifen, the Arch Mage he joined her on the ship with wings.
From here our story moves forward in time, where we meet Dark and his hell horse, Nightmare. Mephisto was training Dark, his grandson when the evil Taliesin appeared bragging about the murder of Dark's parents and challenging Mephisto who quickly shifted into a dragon like creature. From that moment on thirteen year old, Dark desired vengeance. For ten years Dark studied and trained with Styg. He knew that was not enough. He continued his preparations by taking on quests for talismans that will help him destroy those that destroy his loved ones.
Dark Solus is a dark tale filled with magic, dragons, and dark characters. Author David Andrew Crawford presents readers with a tale that will make the most discriminating Demons and Dungeons fans beg for more. As the reader journeys with Dark on his many quests, he/she will meet many outstanding characters. Crawford carefully molds the characters into creatures that seem to climb off the page. While the plot of Dark Solus is excellent, it was the characters that kept me turning the pages.
Posted May 26, 2011
Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale really came out of nowhere and surprised me. I've always asked myself while reading other fantasy novels, why the character lives in a magical world but only knows one or two spells? It's incredibly boring to read with the character using the same spell over and over. This brings me to the reason why I enjoyed Dark Solus so much. The variety and amount of magic used in this book rivals that of all seven Harry Potter books and this is just the first in the series. Another thing I love about fantasy novels is when a character gets a cool or unique item. Although they usually only get one or two throughout a series, with Dark Solus the main character, he gets about four or more halfway through and each one is as cool as the others. There is also a lot of action. Think of this book as a summer blockbuster with the main character moving from action to action. The world of Eorth is beautifully detailed by author David Crawford who describes the world he created with a passion that leaps off the page. Although strange at first, the way Mr. Crawford takes different cultures and their myths/legends and finds a way to put it into his world and make it believable is incredible. All in all the only complaint I have is that it's too short. It's that good you just don't want to put it down. It hypnotizes you into completing it. A great fantasy novel for all ages!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 29, 2011
David Andrew Crawford's Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale is the riveting saga of a thirteen-year-old boy and his mission to vanquish his parents' enemies after witnessing their harrowing demise. Filled with wizards, magic, dwarves, elves, dragons, betrayal, conspiracies, and much more, Dark Solus adds a uniquely psychological element that sets it apart from the normal, run-of-the-mill fantasy. Thrillingly dark to its core, this science fiction/fantasy will not disappoint. Reaching deep into the recesses of his imagination, Crawford has crafted a well-written, detail-rich story that will make readers fall in love with this genre all over again.
As in any tantalizing fantasy tale, Dark Solus' action-packed scenes are preceded by a winding, well-researched historical description, or back-story. The narrative revolves around Dark Solus, the son of Elim and Leynorr Solus, and his unyielding desire to eliminate the masterminds behind his parents' murders, especially the evil wizard and Shadow Lord, Kalifen.
With the help and training from his thousand year-old grandfather Mephistopheles, a polymorphic legendary silver dragon and his friend and teacher the Styg, Warden of the Stygian Depths-a warrior and poet, and the individual who trained Dark's father-Dark hones his powers and prepares for his mission to defeat Kalifen and Lord Blackthorn, and wreak vengeance upon the Assassins, Thieves, and Halfling Guilds.
Though the plot itself is mesmerizing, the dynamic storyline forces readers to conjure how a thirteen year-old child instantly evolves into an assassin-avenging the brutal murders of his parents. Dark is constantly haunted by the memories of his parents. More specifically, the night of the murders is described from Dark's perspective: "That night, Dark's sleep was restless, tormented and haunted by nightmarish images of his parents trapped inside a shadowy coffin."
As Dark, now the cloaked assassin completes his training and prepares to invade the city of Duergar, he receives gifts and tools from his well-wishers that will help him in his endeavors. Can Dark single-handedly do what his parents were unable to do together?
Ultimately, Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale is captivating, from the plot to the precise details, and the fateful birth of an assassin in Dark Solus. It's a must read for all sci-fi/fantasy aficionados.
Posted April 27, 2011
My first thought on reading this book was: I wish I could park my car as easily as the main characters in the story "park" their rides, whether horse or flying ship. My second thought was: what an imagination this writer has.
In Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale, David Andrew Crawford has crafted a story full of horror, tragedy, revenge, and magic. Or at least partially, but more on that later. Protagonist Dark Solus is the offspring of a demon father and an elf mother, and is being raised accordingly --in a magical environment with lessons in stealth and self-defense from his father, a skilled warrior, with summers spent at the home of his grandfather (and WHAT a grandfather), a deep cave in the land of fairies. Sadly for young Dark, this idyllic childhood is destroyed when his parents are killed by enemies that the boy never knew existed. At the age of thirteen, Dark vows to seek out and kill those who murdered his mother and father.
Thus, Dark begins a long and rigorous journey, first as a student learning the art of assassination using every weapon known to man, demon, and very dark magic. Then when his training is complete, he embarks on several quests to obtain a series of talismans necessary for him to fulfill his vow of revenge.
It is at this point that Crawford's imagination "makes the jump into hyperspace," to borrow a phrase. Paying homage to Tolkien and borrowing elements of more than one ancient mythology, from the Greeks to the Norse to the Celts, the author sends his characters on a whirlwind tour of ageless cautionary fables (read: horrific fairy tales) in a sort of video game smashes into Bulfinch, or perhaps a version of When Vengeful Heroes Go Completely DARK.
And then the book ends. No kidding. Crawford didn't partially craft a story as I had mentioned earlier, he actually only partially shared it. I realized as I was racing through the last 20 pages that the dwindling amount of book left did not bode well for my learning the outcome of the entire story. Maybe the author thought I needed a break to get my breath back? Perhaps he was being as devilish as his half-demon main character? Whatever the reason, anyone reading this book will be tempted to turn up on the author's doorstep and demand to know what happens next.
So, Mr. Crawford, to prevent uninvited visitors, I'll ask here and now: What DOES happen next? And how soon can we find out?
Posted April 26, 2011
"It is always a pleasure to come across a quality fantasy novel and Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale by David Andrew Crawford is an entertaining read. This is one of those fantasy books that leave you thinking and visualizing about it well after you are done. The author weaves a tale that grabs your attention and holds it the entire way through. Simply put, the story is about a child, Dark Solus, who experiences the life-changing trauma of his parent's murders at a young age. He becomes an assassin to exact revenge. The story takes the reader through the life of Dark Solus as he is growing up with his grandfather raising him. He struggles with the driving force of retribution shaping his decisions. Dark Solus becomes a strong personality because of this drive and the conflict between him and his grandfather will have readers empathizing with both characters' point of view. Crawford has an amazing imagination and it was obvious that he took considerable time and thought to write his first novel. The story is rich in detail with a quality storyline and excellent character development. The dialogue between the characters flowed well throughout most of the novel. There are fantastic action sequences throughout and enough sorcery and mystery to satisfy any fantasy buff. Readers are left with a solid ending and will have to wait with anticipation for the sequel to find out what happens in the next chapter of Dark Solus, the assassin." - TBR TopBookReviewersWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 18, 2011
Posted April 12, 2011
In Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale, a great warrior is created out of unbearable loss with the singular goal of revenge. Author David Andrew Crawford has created a multi-dimensional world on the planet Eorth complete with witches, elves and bizarre monsters who stand between Dark Solus and his desire to destroy those involved in the murders of his parents. When thirteen-year-old Dark and his powerful wizard grandfather, Mephisto, return to Dark's family home after spending the summer together, they discover Dark's parents have been murdered. The killer is a former student of Mephisto's named Taliesin who was given great power by the wizard Kalifen in exchange for murdering Dark's father and mother who was also Mephisto's daughter. Both Mephisto and Dark use their mystical powers to survive when Taliesin attacks them. Dark makes a pledge to avenge his parents, even though it is against the will of his grandfather. But once Dark reaches adulthood, his grandfather has a change of heart and provides his grandson with the training he needs to accomplish a task that targets the most powerful beings on Eorth. Like most science fiction, Dark Solus is a story about more than dragons and magic or great warriors. It is truly a coming of age tale about a young boy who has lost the most important people in his life. The relationship between Dark and Mephisto evolves from grandchild and grandfather, through a turbulent two years following the deaths of Dark's parents, to that of two powerful men supporting each other in a shared goal. During Dark's search for items that will assist him in assassinating the most powerful wizards and killers on the Eorth, Crawford offers the reader incredible descriptions of the lands of dwarves and elves as well as Dark's intelligence and fighting style. The assassin's history, determination and abundant skills make him a character readers will want more of. Dark Solus: An Assassin's Tale is a fantastic science fiction novel with depth, action and mysticism. I highly recommend it. Melissa Brown Levine for Independent Professional Book ReviewersWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 11, 2011