Past and Present in a Science Fiction Fantasy Novel by Todd Rutherford

In any science fiction/fantasy novel, the past is just as important, if not more important than the present. The epic, prophecy-filled secrets of history are one of the most attractive elements in fantasy world building. David Andrew Crawford’s Dark Solus: An Assassin’s Tale is no different, featuring an epic world full of a number of magical creatures: dwarves, dragons, elves, and faeries.

In order to understand Crawford’s plot, one must pay attention to the creation story preceding Dark Solus’ evolution into an assassin. Interestingly, Dark Solus’ legendary grandfather, Mephistopheles-the thousand-year-old silver dragon-recounts the history of Duerger and the rise of the Shadow Lord and Kalifen.

Long ago, the Father of all species, Dagda divided the world into four kingdoms over which the faeries, elves, dwarves, and humans would rule. Unfortunately, the peace between the races was short lived. Humans, overcome by greed, sought to gain control of the other kingdoms, igniting the Hundred Years Race War.

Years later, the Dwarf King founded the city of Duerger, which quickly became the “beacon of culture” and the largest city on the planet Earth. Acknowledging the rise in human population, the merciful Dwarf King allowed humans to reside near-and even within-his kingdom. Overtime, the Bandit Kingdoms cropped up in the North, led by the Shadow Lord, who “was responsible for the king’s illness and the attempted genocide of his people.”

The Shadow Lord ultimately ambushes Mephistopheles and the Dwarf King’s heir, Dwaric; however, they return triumphant only to discover that the Dwarf King has suddenly died. Lord Blackthorn has taken his place and accused Mephistopheles of being the Shadow Lord, and Dwaric of having a hand in his own father’s death.

In the end, Dark’s mother and father decided to infiltrate the ranks of the Assassin’s Guild and gain the trust of the Shadow Lord as well as gauge his magical prowess. While Dark’s father assumed the alias of Demon the Assassin, his mother was known as the Witch Raider. Waiting for just the right opportunity, the two attempt to dispose of the Shadow Lord, and the court magician, Kalifen, whom none can identify by face.

Returning the story to Dark’s time period, Mephistopheles describes how Taliesin the enchanter– a pawn of Kalifen or the Shadow Lord-viciously bonds Dark’s parents’ souls and sends them to the depths of Hades for all of eternity. History will write the next chapter with Dark Solus’ name on it. Will Dark complete the task his parents left unfinished? Will vengeance be achieved?

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