13 August 2011

An Ancient Earth #1 : The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead

Launch date for Book 1 of The Ancient Earth Trilogy is September 6th
Uncover a land that has been hidden for over a thousand years.

Beneath the land of Britain, a great army is sleeping. On a visit to an old church, Daniel Tully and Freya Reynolds awaken two ancient knights from a centuries-old slumber. They are kidnapped and taken to an underground city that stands in peril, besieged in all directions by a vicious warhost. Nidergeard is the only thing protecting the upper world's blissful ignorance of mythical forces that have been held at bay since the creation of the world. In order to return home, Daniel and Freya must strike at the heart of the opposer's power.

Fast forward eight years. Daniel, now homeless, still wages what he believes to be a righteous war against those he judges to be evil. Freya has tried to put the past behind her and concentrate on getting an education, a job, and a life. When they reconnect in Oxford, unseen forces begin to ally against them. Daniel is pulled through a portal and into another world. Freya is abducted by someone—some thing—posing as her professor and drugged to keep her in a delusional state. After they finally break free, neither can deny the truth . . . they must return to Nidergeard and resume the battle.

With a thrilling narrative that draws heavily upon British mythology, The Realms Thereunder will quickly establish Ross Lawhead as a major new voice in fantasy.


I am a big fan of Ross Lawhead's father, Stephen Lawhead.  You can understand how excited I was to discover that his son is also equally gifted with the talent to spin fabulous yarns.  His début book is a testament to that very fact.  His writing is every bit as engaging as his father's, the characters are credible and the plot line is well crafted and dynamic.  However,  I couldn't help but notice some very obvious parallels between "The Realms Thereunder" and "The Bone House" series by Mr.  Lawhead senior.  Both books revolve around travel between worlds and contain young protagonists seemingly thrust into unimaginable circumstances by the hands of fate.  Their writing style is also very similar.  It is quite clear that father and son have much in common and I imagine that they must spend many long hours in deep conversation about their craft and their work.  So I can't say that I am very surprised that "The Realms" and the "Bone House" series of books travel much of the same track.  What did surprise me is that father and son apparently do not share the same editor.  They should.  The younger Mr. Lawhead's book is crippled by some very obvious editing flaws.  Simple ones, mind you, in tense or of words being flip-flopped around.  For instance:  "She led stepped aside to allow the people out of the hall...", "Ecgbryt took it upon himself to teach the Daniel the principles...".  At first, I thought it was misunderstanding on my behalf but halfway through the book I realized it wasn't me at all and that I didn't need and English to English dictionary to aid me in translating the odd use of language (he lives in England after all).  Despite the books flaws,"The Realms Thereunder" is still a great read, full of adventure, mythical creatures and mysterious places.

*I was reading an advance copy that had yet to be proofed for publication.  My sincerest apologies to the author, publisher and any one else who has been affected by my huge misunderstanding.  I really should have realized that.


Ross Lawhead

Ross Lawhead studied screenplay writing for film and television at Bournemouth University in England. He is the co-writer and penciler on the !HERO comic books and graphic novel. Ross lives in Oxford, England. With a thrilling narrative that draws heavily upon British mythology, The Realms Thereunder will quickly establish Ross Lawhead as a major new voice in fantasy.
 * I received a free copy from the publisher for purposes of review.  I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one.  The opinions stated herein are all my own.


Amanda Bostic said...

Hi Mharvi,

Thanks so much for your review of Ross Lawhead's The Realms Thereunder. I wanted to let you know that the errors you cited were in the advance copies of the novel but were corrected before the final books were printed. Other readers shouldn't have to worry about those. Thanks again for your review!

mharvi said...

O-kay I just have to say sooo sorry about that. I should have of course realized that. My apologies and I will change my review to reflect that.

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