Long after the last of the great heroes of old has died, the Undead King is stirring again, amassing a goblin horde ready to sweep out of the mountains and destroy all of humanity. The only thing preventing utter annihilation is Edmund—a stuttering librarian who knows a secret, a secret that every thief, assassin, and king would kill to have. Fleeing from relentless peril, Edmund wages a solitary battle against an ancient evil. But how can one man succeed when so many before him have failed?
A brief disclosure first about this book. I was excited about the release of this book. How excited was I, you ask? When the book was released, I bought it for my kindle totally forgetting that I had already bought it for my nook. Oh well.
After downloading it for my Kindle, I didn’t have time that evening to read it. So I put it aside to read during my lunch hour the next day. Not only did I arrived back from lunch half an hour late, but I spent the whole rest of the afternoon sneaking in a couple of pages here and there. I ended up finishing it up sometime after dinner. I decided to let my mind digest the book for a week before sitting down to write this review.
Riddle in Stone is the debut novel of author Robert Evert. Frequent readers of the Bookworm’s Fancy will recognize the name from an author interview and a small feature in Around the Web #2. He was one of the first authors that I met in the course of working on this blog. I was surprised by his down to earth attitude about his writing.
Let me say that it starts off a little slow and a bit tedious due to the way Edmund thinks and speaks. But the slow start is necessary to set up the character and gives the reader a glimpse into his inner struggles. Once Edmund leaves Rood, the story picks up immediately.
He leaves his home with his head filled with the legends and history that he read in his books. But is soon forced to face the fact that all he has believed in was a lie when he is captured by goblins. All that he has to sustain him during his captivity is a few spells that his mother taught him when he was younger and his love for a local woman named Molly.
For his first outing as an author, Evert does an outstanding job. He isn’t afraid of the nastiness inherent in captivity. The process of turning Edmund from a sputtering coward into something resembling a hero is a long and ugly one. It is the inherent want to survive at any cost that finally pushes Edmund to that transformation. This transformation is what allows Edmund to triumph over the goblins and rescue his beloved Molly.
Evert creates interesting characters that you can’t but identify with and root for. You find yourself cheering on Filth, Crazy Bastard, and Pondscum. You find yourself loathing the goblins and yet intrigued by the goblin king.
With this story, Evert has successfully put a new spin on the ordinary fantasy character that either through magic, destiny, tragedy, or hardship becomes a hero. I have read a lot of books in my life and I have never read one that managed to do that any better than this book.
With Riddle in Stone, Robert Evert has given us a fantastic debut novel, though not without some rough parts. The great thing is that Evert is a new author; and his writing and storytelling can only improve. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to its sequel, which we get a glimpse of at the end of this book.