1/01/2009

Fires of Belenus Reviewed in Renaissance Magazine

The following review will be published in the January 2009 Issue of Renaissance Magazine: Fires of Belenusby William H. Russeth ISBN: 978-1597057523 Wings ePress / 2007 Fires of Belenus is the debut historical novel of William H. Russeth and a remarkable tale of the ancient Celts. The novel stays very true to the nature of these complex and fascinating people, while still adding a sense of wonder. The basic plot of Fires of Belenus involves a sword forged from metal taken from within a fallen meteorite that, according to prophecy, will forge the destiny of the world for generations to come. Everyone in the land wants control of this seemingly mystical blade, from the warrior chieftains to the numinous druids. It becomes the task of Eoan, a young man barely out of his childhood, to find the sword. To make matters even more desperate, he also has to save the girl he loves. The world of the Celts can be quite harsh at times, and Russeth does not shy away from violence where it is necessary for characterization and plot. Not wanting to give away anything too important to the story, I can say that early in the book one of his druid characters has an encounter where he comes away a few bloody digits short. Yet, Russeth never uses violence simply to liven up a scene. Even though the novel takes place in a rather brutal era, the author seems to know just what a scene needs without going overboard and relying on violence to titillate the audience. Romance is integral to the tale and plays a large part in the book as well. Again, the author does a good job of weaving it into the narrative – it feels like a very natural part of the story and is never dull. One of the greatest things about the novel, however, is how the subjects of druids are viewed by the populous and how their "magic" is handled. Russeth takes a very realistic approach to the subject and it comes across as very plausible. Readers will find quite a few surprises where the author takes an event or being that seems to be supernatural or otherworldly and explains the reality behind it. This melding of the magical into the real world is done quite well. If you enjoy a great historical adventure story with characters that you care about and a good dose of romance added into the mix, then you should give Fires of Belenus a read. It is gripping and executed well. You won't be disappointed. Jason M. Tucker, Renaissance Magazine, January 2009
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