Select one of the keywords
Godsdoom: The Book of Hagen    by Nick Perumov order for
by Nick Perumov
Order:  USA  Can
Zumaya, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

It doesn't take many pages to understand why Russian author Nick Perumov was voted best European SF writer in 2004. Perumov's Godsdoom, is a complex sword and sorcery saga, with the flavor of classics such as Beowulf.

Mage Hedin, the Sage of Darkness, is released after a hundred decades of exile for having followed Mage Rakoth, the Rebel Lord of Gloom. During his long exile, Hedin learned powerful wizardry from many beings. He plans to use this knowledge to challenge the Council of Mages which sentenced him so long ago. Of Archmage Merlin, Leader of the Council of the Generation, Hedin muses: 'Merlin had amply earned his title of the Great. He knew something none of the others seated at the Council table would grasp for a long time to come - that I would not rest until I had taken his place or was cast out of this world.' One council member is Hedin's once beloved Sigrlinn the Sorceress, who turned against him.

Hedin takes a boy, Hagen, as his apprentice and trains him to be an exceptional warrior, the perfect weapon. Hedin also enlists Mage Rakoth to assist in his revenge against the Mages of his Generation and the Young Gods. He leads legions of loyal followers. Through his wizardry, Hedin watches the progress of his apprentice, as the Teacher himself travels and is exposed to perils of his own. Sigrlinn appears to Hedin with warnings, but are they true or false? The wily Sorceress makes Hagen an offer, to 'grant Hagen's desire with the condition of leaving his Teacher to go with her'. To which Hagen responds, 'You are violating the Law of the Ancients ... No one is entitled to make free with another's apprentice.'

Alternating narrations reveal numerous painful travails for Teacher and Apprentice as they battle to preserve their lives and those of others. There are encounters with sinister wizardry, wood-mountain-gnomes, marsh troll and kobold, Moonbeast descendents, Unquiet Ones, shamans, miners, mormaths, merchant dwarves, and those with no physical form, whom Fate has 'cheated of bodily shell and left fleshless'. Hedin forges in depth into Elemental Wizardry in readiness to meet the Young Gods on his own terms. Hagen, with his inherited Blue Sword, duels with Merlin, facing seven altars and seven emblems, in search of a specific ornament. And the Young Gods exchange trickery and ego-battered powers to hold onto their kingdoms.

Nick Perumov was born in Leningrad. He graduated in biophysics and worked in molecular biology before he 'took up literature' as his main profession. Perumov's genius fills mystic worlds with gripping events and melodious descriptions. Though Godsdoom is not a fast read, the author's affluent words and philosophical plotline are worth every hour spent on his puissant story.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews