Out of the Ashes: BattleAxe

battleaxe-1steditioncover-TonyPyrzakowskiHands up those who feel that Fantasy writing has been highjacked by prolific, burned out ‘name’ authors. As many as that? Well, Fantasy lovers, don’t despair. I’m here to tell you about a new writer who puts them all to shame – and best of all she was born and bred and is living right here in Australia.

Sara Douglass made an early switch from nursing to academia, topping off her studies with a PhD in early modern English history from the University of Adelaide. She now teaches medieval history at La Trobe University. Her first book is just stunning.

Yes, there’s a prophecy. Yes, there are half brothers, one of whom the beautiful Faraday loves, the other she marries. Yes, evil stalks the land and yes it grows stronger with every page we turn. Can anyone stop it? You bet! But not by the end of BattleAxe, the first book of a trilogy by this talented author.

The wonderful thing about Sara Douglass is that she has not yet learned to pace herself, and her book teams with ideas and characters and more sub-plots than you could shake a stick at. Her academic background lends weight to her kingdoms (yes there is a map) and her nursing background underpins her battles with bloody realism.

If I have a cavil it is with the book jacket. The hero resembles a Schwartzenegger clone, the horse has just been goosed, and monsters, in my opinion, should be left to the imagination. Ignore the cover and buy the book. Read it. You’ll be delighted.

All together now, Fantasy lovers. What do we want? Book two! When do we want it? Now!


©1995 Laurie Molloy / Out of the Ashes. Reviewed by Larie Molley for Out of the Ashes, Issue 21, December 1995 (no longer in print). This review originally appeared on Sara Douglass’s website in full.

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