The Key of Alanar, by Rory B. Mackay

It is 4999: the year of Atania. Lasandria, an ancient and glorious civilisation, has just been destroyed in a horrific episode of destruction and violence. Ardonis, High Priest of Lasandria, brings the matter to the Council of Elders at the Court of Shanadon in the realm of the Guardians. The Elders, comprised of six men and women who watch over the mortal realm, cannot change the past. They can, however, promise hope for the future.

Ten thousand years later, in the year of Atahl, David witnesses the death of his family and friends at the hands of the Alliance on the island of New Haven. The flaming streets, thickly littered with corpses and covered in smoke, are his final memories of his home. The Alliance, corrupted by power, is allied with the Narssians, another major group that uses brute force to feed off entire planets and galaxies. Together they are determined to destroy any dimension that stands in the way of complete domination over the planet of Alanar.

The only hope for David and his terror-stricken planet is the Key of Alanar, a crucial object that, once made whole, will save the universe and defeat the enemy. David already possesses a fragment of the Key of Alanar and must claim the other half of the Key that is located in the City of Lorden. While journeying to the City of Lorden, David and his companions Janir, Naranyan, Janna and Darien are captured by the Kellians, a tribe historically characterised by conquest. With the help of Chari, a rebellious Kellian, the company of travellers escape and resume their journey to find the other fragment. The quest grows more perilous as they are pursued by the Death Troops and their leader, Zhayron.

The descriptiveness and detail of Mackay’s writing are highly commendable. Mackay’s creativity is evident in the flurry of doubly foreign cultures and civilisations in his novel. The story, set in Mackay’s invented temporal and geographical worlds and dabbling in metaphysics and morals, exploits the infinite possibilities of the fantasy genre. If you are partial to science fiction, thrillers, fantasy, visionary fiction, Eastern philosophy or adventure stories, you would definitely enjoy reading this novel. It is the first book of the Alanar Ascendant trilogy, the first step to a long adventure worth your while.

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Azariah Alfante Azariah is an Auckland-based writer, book reviewer and doctoral candidate who is deeply interested in all things culture, politics and history. She enjoys studying and reading in various Indo-European languages and delving into medieval epics, Baroque and Romantic poetry, 19th century novels, historical and contemporary fiction, fantasy and short stories.

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