“I often think that men don't understand what is noble and what is ignorant, though they always talk about it.” – Leo Tolstoy
Author Richard Dawes’ new book ‘Valka the Wolf Slayer - Dragon Sword’ is the first book in the ‘Wolf Slayer Saga’ series. In the story we are introduced to Valka, the younger son of Baron Ulrich of the fiefdom of Valentia in the kingdom of Kornelia. Valka has earned the title, Wolf Slayer, by slaying the wolves that infest his father's fiefdom and decimate the villagers' cattle. He isn’t, however, merely another warrior with a sword. As the story progresses, we discover he carries the bloodline of the ancient Dragon Lords. The Dragon Lords were an elite band of dedicated warriors. Ever in the forefront of battle, they guarded Kings, and it was from their ranks that Divine Kings were chosen.
After years of studying the sword under Count Albrecht, who initiates him onto the ‘Way of the Warrior’, Valka sets out from home in search of his destiny. Along the way he finds many adventures where his courage and sword skills are tested to the limit. The adventures ensure that the name, Valka the Wolf Slayer, will be feared and revered throughout the kingdom.
Armed with a special sword and a style of swordsmanship that is unique to him, Valka encounters many ruffians and villains in his quest for adventure. There are backstabbing nobles, challenges from outlaws, and even an ancient dragon that test his powers. Dedicated learning and following of the ‘Warrior’s Way’ enables him to channel immense power from within, however, and that power becomes his ally when confronted with life and death situations.
The author is clear about what he wants to say in the book, and that honesty and straightforwardness are reflected in the narrative. The idea that power exists on different planes, and maintaining the balance of power forms the major backdrop for the novel. The story is surprisingly philosophical and spiritual in its attempt to dissect the reality we take for granted. Ideas such as an individual’s role on this plane from a personal perspective, and that role from the point of view of the cosmos, make for some deep and insightful reading. And just when the narrative becomes heavy and serious, there is always a decapitation or two lurking around the corner. The action sequences are so well described that the choreography of the fights can be pictured vividly. In fact, it is this nice balance of deep seated philosophy with high octane action that fuels the narrative forward in a straight line without any drags and hiccups.
Valka is the quintessential warrior poet who can cut opponents down to size with his sword as well as his mind. Although depicted as a young man, the detailed back story of Valka's initiation onto the Warrior's Way and his training describe the development of his character. He is built for hero-worship, and he possesses many qualities that readers look for in a hero. The book has multiple characters and each leaves a lasting impression irrespective of his or her importance in the overall narrative. Marija, the Princess who denies her feminine side, and Bretta, who becomes a valuable ally for Valka, are some of the strong woman characters in the book.
A great start to a series!
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Melange Books (November 9, 2015)