Bret M. Funk,
Path of Glory
(Tyrannosaurus Press, 2002)

Almost 1,000 years ago, the Mages of Madryn raised the Boundary, a barrier against magic, to trap the Darklord Lorthas. Every so often, criminals would be banished across the Boundary, the most recent being the Durange brothers, Tylor and Salos, who had tried to conquer an empire.

Jeran Odara, raised on a farm near the Boundary, loves to listen to his Uncle Aryn's stories of battles and legends. When the wounded Guardsman shows up at the Odara farm, Jeryn little dreams that he is about to become part of those stories.

The news the Guardsman carries is grave. The Durange brothers have escaped their imprisonment beyond the Boundary. If they can escape, so can the Darklord. Word must be carried to the king and only Jeran and his adopted brother Dahr can do it.

Their journey to the capitol is long and perilous, but at last they arrive and give their news to the king. Knowing they have no place else to go, the king takes them into his household where they grow up with the prince. No more word is spoken regarding the Durange brothers, but the king quietly begins to make plans for the war he knows is coming.

Path of Glory is the first novel in a new series called Boundary's Fall and a first novel for author Bret M. Funk, who is, incidentally, the founder of Tyrannosaurus Press and, at present, its only author.

Path of Glory has some problems. It is written in a third-person omniscient style that switches between viewpoint characters with no warning, producing, at times, a choppy, chaotic narrative. Contributing to the chaos are numerous editing mistakes, wherein words are left out or sentence fragments from previous versions have not been deleted. Granted, I was reading an uncorrected proof, so hopefully this problem will be resolved in the published version. Also, it seems at times as though the words that the author has chosen to convey his meaning are almost -- but not quite -- the right ones, giving scenes an unbalanced, off-kilter feeling.

The narrative itself begins with a lengthy prologue, establishing the world of Madryn and giving the background of the Boundary. It then jumps several centuries to the "present." The story moves very slowly and is difficult to get into for about the first hundred pages. The leisurely pace put me in mind of Robert Jordan, who writes incredibly detailed -- and thus slow -- novels. However, once the action finally gets going, it continues to move for most of the rest of the book.

The plot, however, is sound and well thought out, and in spite of the complaints delineated above, I found myself (after the first hundred pages) caught up in the narrative and eager to find out what would happen next.

So, despite technical problems, I found Path of Glory enjoyable and engrossing. I am looking forward to its sequel.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]
Rambles: 16 November 2002

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