“Canticle” by Ken Scholes (Tor, 2009)


In his debut novel, Lamentation, Ken Scholes set the stage for his five-book epic, bringing his complex cast of characters together to the catastrophic ruins of the once great city and library of Windwir.  Now, in the second book of the Psalms of Isaak, Scholes sends his characters off in opposite directions, on their own quests and journeys, each with different goals.  Along the way, some will meet as friends, some as enemies, some as lovers.  Readers will also learn more about the incredible world of the Named Lands and the Outlying Regions, as the characters travel deep into them, uncovering the ancient history of this realm that has been hidden, kept secret, misunderstood, and barely hinted at in Lamentation.  Scholes continues his genre-blending of fantasy with science fiction (or is it the other way round?) with a new form of  invisible assassin able to move faster and more deadly than Rudolfo’s trained spies and warriors, as well as his memorable mechoservitors .  Readers will be hooked from beginning to end, and then left waiting for the third book due out fall 2010; however there is a free story available at the TOR site for those impatient set within the same world.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on November 24th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Ken Scholes check out BookBanter Episode 21.

“Lamentation” by Ken Scholes (Tor, 2009)


New author and winner of Writers of the Future, Ken Scholes, offers up the first book in a projected five-book series known as The Psalms of Isaak, featuring the complexity and political intrigue of George R. R. Martin with the artistic touch and historical feel of Guy Gavriel Kay. Lamentation is a subtle fantasy novel that does not seek to dazzle readers with nonstop action, but instead introduces them to a complicated world where there is no clear definition between good and evil for the different kingdoms, where each decision that is made will have important and far reaching ramifications.

Lamentation begins with the end of a beloved city, Windwir of the Named Lands.  All that remains is a curling column of smoke reaching into the sky after the casting of a catastrophic spell that razes the once great city to nothing but ruin and dust.  The main characters of the kingdoms of the Named Lands – Rudolfo, Lord of the Ninefold Forest Houses; Petronus, the Hidden Pope of the Androfrancine Order; Sethbert, Overseer of the Entrolusian City States; Jin Li Tam, daughter to the king of the Inner Emerald Coast – all pay witness to the devastation and must now begin putting the pieces together to find out who is behind this terrible destruction and to punish them accordingly.  The evidence rests on the word of a young boy, Neb, who witnessed the event, along with the survival of a merchservitor named Isaak who proclaims he is to blame for it all.  Yet he is but a robot, a machine that was ordered to do this; human hands and minds are ultimately behind this cataclysmic event.

Ken Scholes has created a wonderfully original world where it is not immediately clear who is fighting on the side of good and who isn’t.  Each character must be severely question on where their intentions lie and what they hope to achieve.  Scholes also uses a fresh blend of steampunk where there are mechoservitors to perform important duties, and mechanical birds that are used to send messages, as well as a special kind of magicks that uses elemental forces and materials for abilities like invisibility and speed. Lamentation is the first book in a great new series from a strong new voice in the world of fantasy.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on March 31st, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Ken Scholes check out BookBanter Episode 21.