Author: Dave-Brendon de Burgh
Publisher: Fox & Raven, 2014
It's always exciting when fresh faces appear in the South African genre scene, and Dave-Brendon de Burgh has definitely landed with a splash with his fantasy novel Betrayal's Shadow, which is currently available in print at Exclusive Books (useful for South African readers).
For those who'd like to dip their toes into the setting of Betrayal's Shadow, De Burgh has released a short story to whet readers' appetites. And, having started on the main course at time of writing this review, I can add that reading the short story first will definitely provide a useful framework for when you get stuck in the novel.
We join Ordaefus, one of the Elvayn race, who has inadvertently pitched his people into a conflict they cannot hope to win. Their only option is to flee their world in the massive Seed ships they hope to send to a new world.
At the heart of their problem lies a massive difference of opinion between those who Sing and those who Wield--and though he wishes to avoid war, Ordaefus must defend himself against his brother Mahaelal, who has vowed to eradicate all those who Sing.
Basically, this is an origin story, much in the same way Tolkien's Silmarillion sets the stage for The Lord of the Rings. A Song of Sacrifice provides an intriguing and enticing snippet of world building that has lured me in.
For the sake of writing a balanced review, I must mention a few of the details that bugged me. The biggest point of concern was the quantity and frequency of typographical errors, and I'd hazard to suggest that it might be a good idea to upload a revised edition of this story in the future. Also, what could be looked at is the amount of fillers--"he said", "she thought"... And so on.
Though there is a fair amount of exposition to get through, A Song of Sacrifice is nonetheless a story with a premise that is rather different from much of the fantasy fare I've encountered of late, that blends in a whiff of a SF element. I'll be watching De Burgh's career with great interest.