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The Awakening by Bevan McGuiness

cover image Harper Voyager, 2007. ISBN 0732285496 565p. (The Triumvirate: Book 1)
As with most in the fantasy genre, The Awakening deals with the rising up of old powers. Alden, Hwenfayre and Shanek all have their place in the old Empire, but their beliefs, status and stability are all shattered when they become increasingly aware of the powers they possess.

Shanek has been born to rule and he accepts this birthright. He is arrogant, cruel, intelligent and at times oddly uneasy. Alden is part of a small village, accepted but not embraced, is aware of why but bears no ill feeling to any of his fellow villagers or his drunken, unhappy mother. Hwenfayre is a little like Alden, but she is shunned by all around her. She is different and just doesn’t fit in - her fair hair, pale skin and violet eyes of her birth set her apart.

As McGuiness' tale unwinds we find out more about the Empire on land and the groups on the sea - the Children of Danan and the Southern Raiders. Each group has a struggle to endure, to survive as well as make a decision about their future direction. Will they stay within the old ways, accept a life without the old lore, or will the old make decisions for them?

In the first book, the separation of land and sea means the Empire and the Children of Danan and the Southern Raiders are ignorant to a large extent, each of the other. I'm sure these will converge in the subsequent books. I for one eagerly await book 2 to find out whether the destiny hinted at for Shanek comes to fruition. Will he and his former bodyguard meet again? How will Alden fit into all of this? And what part does the triumvirate play? All will be most intriguing.
Mark Knight


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