(2009-04-22)The country of Klune has been free for ten years, however it is surrounded by hostile forces and the only thing keeping the land safe is a treaty struck between the human king and a race of arlics who patrol the borders. But the treaty is due to end and relations between the two sides have broken down. Calen Gollnet, a young boy from the destroyed city of Klune Anor, sets out to find Arvan Eleron, one of the original Covenant who achieved the country's freedom, and bring him news of his town's destruction. He finds himself swept up into an adventure as they try to prevent further cities from being obliterated by the dark armies of the enemy, while gathering support and hoping to mend the alliance between humans and arlics. Two signs of the Prophecy of Return have already come to pass, and the third will bring a great evil back to the land. No-one is sure however: what is the third sign?
I found 'The Third Sign' easy to get into and within the first few chapters was immersed in the vivid fantasy world which Gregory Wilson has created. He narrates the story with just enough descriptive to paint his characters, their emotions and surroundings without sacrificing the pace, and I felt that the action/battle sequences were particularly well-written. The way in which the author moved between various viewpoints and showed what was happening to the different areas of Klune really held my interest. He manages to create a sense of underlying danger that simmers away, making you nervous for the characters involved, without revealing too much too soon.
'The Third Sign' is primarily a story of political maneuvering, mystery, and action, which revolves around a small group of characters, each learning to cope with their own form of loss and new responsibilities. It also has an undertone of magic and prophecy which serve to highlight the timeless battle between good and evil. There is never a dull moment, with conflicts arising in so many ways: from the inner turmoil of a boy's bond with his family, to disputes between the two races of Klune, and even fall-outs within a tribe.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy story, as well as those readers who have always been curious about the genre but are new to it. The only minor flaw which dampened my enjoyment of the book were the similarities I noticed now and then to the writing of Tolkien and Robert Jordan. While I cannot fault the quality of Wilson's writing, I would have preferred him to come up with fresh ideas rather than just making minor adjustments to those already created by classic fantasy writers.
Overall 'The Third Sign' is an enjoyable and gripping read. I eagerly await the next installment.
Reviewed by Helen Kerslake
Visit Gregory Wilson's homepage at http://www.gregoryawilson.com
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