BOOK REVIEW: OF BONE AND THUNDER / AUTHOR: CHRIS EVANS / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Deep within a foreboding and impenetrable jungle at the heart of a foreign land an unpopular war is being waged by The Kingdom. Fighting a largely hidden and deadly enemy, young conscripted soldiers fight alongside magically endowed special forces in a conflict that may be impossible to win, and may cost all involved more than they could possibly imagine.
Military historian Chris Evans’ new novel Of Bone and Thunder is an engaging and intriguing account of the horrors of war on the frontline. Introducing dragons, archers and the magical Thaums, Evans has taken a well-used setting we are familiar with and introduced fantastical elements, instilling originality into old themes. Ignoring common trends in fantasy literature for quests and adventure, Evans grounds his story in this more realistic setting, taking inspiration from the guerrilla-style wars of human history.
Following several characters including regular soldier Carny and young Thaum Jawn, Of Bone and Thunder documents war through differing eyes but the central messages of horror and disillusionment remain the same. Comparisons with Tolkien are misleading as this is no fantasy fairytale. Evans has created a story grounded with fear and terror, emphasising the futility of loss and the blatant disregard for all life.
Of Bone and Thunder will not be for everyone though. With the war at its centre this is a darkly detailed story that meanders at times along interweaving narratives. There is no instant return and some patience is required, but as the book develops this perseverance pays off as you become drawn into the lives of each of the protagonists.
Possibly more for the military minded than the fantasy fan, Of Bone and Thunder is an interesting novel that will satisfy most readers, just as long as it can hold the attention long enough.