Friday, February 16, 2018

A Plague Of Giants by Kevin Hearne

In this new epic fantasy, a disaster has come upon the lands.  Bone Giants have invaded and are determined to take whatever they want.  They can throw up a city in mere weeks, and their response when meeting with anyone from any of the surrounding countries is to kill everything they encounter.  In this world, every country is the site of a Keening, an extraordinary talent that is given to some of its inhabitants.  There are five known kennings.  In a country near the sea, the keening is to control water; another country controls rock and earth while another controls all plant life.  There is talk of seven kennings but only five have been discovered and used.  All the other countries band together to fight the invasion and the death and destruction the giants bring.

Dervan is an academic.  He grew up with the ruler of his country and many of the refugees from the giant's invasion have ended up in his country.  The ruler asks Dervan to do two things.  First, he must learn how to speak with a giant that has been captured and imprisoned in order to see what he can determine about their plans.  Then he is to work with and report on a bard who has come to town.

Fintan is the bard.  He is a shape shifter and uses his talent to take on the character and forms of those he tells tales about.  He gathers an ever-growing crowd each day to tell them about what is happening; how the giants have come, what they have already done and plan to do and what the various countries plan to counter them.  He talks of heroes and disasters, of tragedy and courage and disaster and hope.  The crowds grow every day to hear him and the rulers want to have someone there to be sure what Fintan is saying, as there is also suspicion that he is a spy.  Can the other countries pull together to defeat the greatest enemy any have encountered?  There is a rumor that the Sixth Keening has been discovered and perhaps it will provide the answer.

This is the first novel of a planned trilogy by one of the masters of fantasy.  Hearne's Iron Druid series is a masterpiece in the fantasy genre and this new series promises to be another one.  The world building is epic and his ability to juggle myriad characters while advancing the story is amazing.  The structure of having the bard tell the story in daily implements allows Herne to introduce all the characters in detail while filling in the story of how the giants are to be defeated.  This book is recommended for fantasy readers.

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