Sunday, November 2, 2008

Debut Showcase: The Stormcaller

The Stormcaller (Amazon USA, UK, Canada)
By Tom Lloyd (website, blog, forum)
Trade Paperback

In a land ruled by prophecy and the whims of gods, a young man finds himself at the heart of a war he barely understands, wielding powers he may never be able to control.

Isak is a white-eye, born bigger, more charismatic, and more powerful than normal men. But with that power comes an unpredictable temper and an inner rage he cannot always hide. Brought up as a wagon-brat, feared and despised by those around him, he dreams of a place in the army and a chance to live his own life. But when the call comes, it isn’t to be a soldier, for the gods have other plans for the intemperate teenager: Isak has been chosen as heir-elect to the brooding Lord Bahl, the white-eye Lord of the Farlan.

The white-eyes were created by the gods to bring order out of chaos, for their magnetic charm and formidable strength makes them natural leaders of men. Lord Bahl is typical of the breed: he inspires and oppresses those around him in equal measure. He can be brusque and impatient, a difficult mentor for a boy every bit as volatile as he is.

But now is the time for the forging of empires. With mounting envy and malice, the men who would themselves be kings watch Isak, chosen by gods as flawed as the humans who serve them, as he is shaped and molded to fulfill the prophecies that circle him like scavenger birds. Divine fury and mortal strife is about to spill over and paint the world with blood.

This novel came out last year in the UK. That's the UK cover to the right. With apologizes to Pyr, I think I like the UK cover better. The codpiece on the American cover is a bit much. Since the Publishers Weekly review says that Lloyd "pours enough testosterone into his high fantasy to power past a few inconsistencies", maybe it isn't aimed toward women, anyway.

On the other hand, it has dragons, elves and trolls, which seem to be rare enough these days that they are worth mentioning when I find them. And I have to respect an author who is willing to post links to his indifferent reviews as well as his positive.

What do you think?


Maria said...

Both look like of war-mongering to me, so I'd say that neither has a great deal of appeal (granted that sounds like it fits the book to some degree). I generally prefer something that makes me think the character or world is sympathetic (such as maybe the face of a confused teenager?)

The whole destruction theme isn't one that will draw me in--it would have to be something that reflects the inner conflict of the character.

Mulluane said...

I'm afraid that for once I've got to disagree with you. If I was shelf browsing I'd ignore the UK cover and be drawn to the US one.

The dragon would be my draw, the UK version would make me think dark, depressing, apocalyptic fantasy which I generally dislike.

Tia Nevitt said...

Yes, I must admit that the dragon is pretty cool.

Apparently, there is inner conflict with the character, but you can't get much of a sense of it from the cover.