“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” – Viktor E. Frankl
Richard Dawes’ book, ‘Star Sword’, is the latest installment in the ‘Wolf Slayer Saga’ series. Valka the Wolf Slayer is an enigmatic fighter and a destined hero of the times. He follows the Warriors Way, and is ever ready to fight the dark forces of chaos to preserve cosmos. After stumbling into Agartha, a spiritual center and civilization beneath the surface of the earth, he becomes the hero the people have been awaiting. An evil magician has unleashed unspeakable evil in his bid to take control of Agartha and ultimately the world. Valka relies on his star sword and new acquaintances to vanquish the magician and restore peace.
Star Sword follows the template found in the other books in the series. This isn’t a negative, especially if the reader is a fan of these books. The book continues to provide plenty the same dynamics that originally attracted readers to this series.
Valka was a powerful hero to begin with and in the latest installment he becomes even more powerful. When characters acquire ‘too big to fail’ status, it removes some of the unpredictability from the plot. The reader knows that no matter how tough the situation gets, the hero will escape the latest predicament unscathed, and possibly even emerge stronger.
This is not a flaw. It is inherent in the heroic genre. Does anyone really walk into an Avengers movie and expect them to fail in the climax? Does anyone expect James Bond to lose out to the villain?
In Star Sword, Richard Dawes has expertly integrated into the plot metaphysical considerations the reader has come to expect in the sagas. Here the reader can ruminate on world cycles, vibration underlying form, power, its variations and its corrupting influence.
There is plenty to enjoy in Star Sword if you are a returning reader or are new to the series. First on the list is the fight sequences. Describing an action scene with swords and axes is more difficult than those involving guns. The author does an outstanding job etching the details, allowing the reader to imagine these scenes clearly. And he keeps it fresh, even though there are many fight scenes in the saga. The descriptions of the environment are very detailed, bringing the realm of Agartha to vivid life for the reader. The characters are well-drawn and real.
Valka the Wolf Slayer can be read on several different levels – as a simple action hero, if one is looking for entertainment. If one is willing to read between the lines, however, there is quite a bit of subtext to this lone hero’s adventures.
Paperback: 161 pages
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC; First edition (September 13, 2016)