Ryk Spoor’s PHOENIX RISING is book one in a straight-up, classic fantasy trilogy. This is an adventure story for people who like fantasy role-playing with lots of the familiar stuff — elves, dwarfs, ogres, ancient prophecies, lost homelands, unassailable coasts, dark forces threatening the world, impassable mountain chains, sorcerer-kings — and more than a few twists — my personal favorite being that one of the principal characters is an adventuring toad.
PHOENIX RISING follows a smallish adventuring band of three main heroes. Kyri, whose brother Rion is murdered by a traitor among his own order of Justiciars, becomes the god’s own appointee / avatar to investigate the murder. Tobimar, prince of Skysand, is called by an oracle to enter into his family’s perennial and never-resolved quest to find their lost homeland. And Poplock Duckweed — the toad swordsman, crossbowman, and tinkering magician — having accidentally interrupted and therefore delayed the summoning of horrific beings from beyond the world, has now become said horrific beings’ target.
Naturally, the three heroes’ paths cross and their separate quests become entangled in delightful ways. Spoor has a great flair for the epic — vast prophetic vistas, mighty regal pomp and ceremony, declaimed semi-poetic speeches, and ferocious dooms litter this adventure tale along with its lizard-men, evil spiders, and multiple sects of elves. I understand that this world began life as a setting for a roleplaying game — it sure feels like a good one. PHOENIX RISING is a guaranteed pleaser for fans of Terry Brooks and R.A. Salvatore.