What breaks a man, which choices a man makes can ultimately lead him down the opposite path of what he initially wanted, what atrocities are a man capable of doing given the conviction he is doing the work of good, the work of God? There are some very fascinating issues Shawn Speakman delves into with his story, The Dark Thorn.
This urban fantasy
brings the reader into the wonderful world the Arthurian era with
Knights Templar, powerful fey, secret tools and weapons of magic. It
also gives us a glimpse into the history of the Catholic Church and its
war on paganism.
The protagonist, Richard McAllister, is a broken
man living on the streets of Seattle. Still, he is much more than a
homeless miserable shell of a man; he is a Knight of Yn Saith charged
with guarding the Seattle Portal into Annwn, a world unknown to most. A
world the fay of the Arthurian Britain escaped into when the Roman
Church and its Knights Templar hunted down anything and everything
connected with Pagan belief. There are several portals around the
world. With the help of a mysterious wizard, Merle, the knights work
both for and against the Church in order to keep the two worlds
The Dark Thorn tells a thrilling tale of overcoming
personal hardship while fighting to prevent events of catastrophic scale
destroying not only one, but two worlds. It is a tale religious
extremism, greed and hunger for power, but also of perseverance,
personal growth and accepting responsibility even at a high personal
loss. There are turns and twists that will take you completely by
surprise and keep you wanting ever more.
Shawn Speakman's words
create visual fodder for your imagination. He has created a universe of
his own that I want very much to see more of. His characters are
believable with both unforgivable flaws and honorable bravery. His
writing style is very much his own, but some of it, like his style of
description, reminds me of the early works of Terry Brooks. The way he
mixes the life of modern day world and the secret world of Fay and its
Seelie Court reminds me of the universe of Jim Butcher and the main
protagonist's self loathing and bitterness reminds me of Donaldson's
I highly recommend this book and I believe it'll leave you like me; wanting more.