Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Mark of Ran

In a world abandoned by its Creator, an ancient race with incredible powers once existed. Some consider them angels while others say they were demons. Rol Cortishane grew up in a small fishing village, unaware of the power of his blood. Accused of witchcraft and driven from his home, he seeks refuge in the home of two enigmatic characters who also share the blood of the ancient race, Psellos and the beautiful but deadly Rowan. Under their tutelage, he learns the diplomatic and assassin’s arts. Soon however, Rol will take to the seas to find his destiny.

The first thing you may notice about The Mark of Ran is that it has one of the most recognized tropes in fantasy: the farm/fisher boy, unaware of his true bloodline and must discover his destiny. It’s not exactly subtle I grant you, and the plot is a little thin, especially in the second half of the book, but for the most part you won’t notice the book’s drawbacks. Kearney’s prose and characters are fantastic as always. His world is also well realized and gives hints to something larger. 

As always, Kearney is surprisingly succinct for an epic fantasy writer. A couple times I felt he skipped too much, yet he has a way of filling the pages so that you don’t really notice.Kearney’s world leans very heavily toward naval tradition and sailing and the story reflects this. A Mark of Ran has sailing and naval battles that equal anything in Master and Commander. There are many nautical and naval terms splashed throughout the book, though personally I didn’t have much trouble with that aspect of the book at all. I thought it gave the book a bit of unique flavor and besides, who can resist a book with a few pirates?

The Mark of Ran is a good book for all epic fantasy fans and a must-read for fans of Kearney. Recommended.

Rating: 8/10.

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