`The Time Weaver' by indie author Thomas A. Knight is an excellent first novel, and bodes well for his future efforts.
On the morning of Seth Alkirk's 30thbirthday, a book that his father left him and which was locked for 25 years mysteriously opens for him. He discovers that it is written in a language that he can't understand and takes it to work in his lap-top bag for his friend and business partner Dave to have a look at.
At lunch that day there is a moment when a glass appears to fall to the floor in slow motion, before it breaks. That evening he is involved in an automobile accident in which time completely stops, allowing him to walk away from an accident that should have killed him. As he tries to absorb that, a rift opens and a beast emerges. Running through the silent, immobile city and trying to escape the beast, Seth is placed under a compulsion to face the beast down. Without knowing why he does so, he unleashes a powerful magic attack on the beast. Deterred momentarily but not stopped, the beast seizes him.
At this point I was hooked. The plot had me, and I put aside everything and did nothing but read until I had read the whole book.
It turns out that Seth is the son of the most powerful time-weaver in the history of the parallel world of Galadir. His inadvertent opening of the book and use of his powers has alerted both friends and enemies of his existence. Merek, the arch-magus, sends a warrior, Malia, to retrieve him. She rescues him from the beast (which is a demon-like thing called a Narshuk), and takes him back to Galadir through the rift that the beast had used. They must get to Findoor Castle, and have a long trip ahead of them. On their journey they meet a bard, Cedric and he eventually finds himself aiding them in exchange for their aid in getting him to Findoor, and vouching for him.
Unbeknownst to arch-magus Merek, his apprentice, Grian, has turned to evil. Upon hearing of Seth's existence Grian steals a dangerous book. Catching him in the act of the theft, Merek exiles him to the Badlands. Unfortunately, that was where Grian wanted to be. The high council, of which his father is a member, goes to the Badlands to confront him. Grian murders the entire council including his own father in his effort to consolidate his power. Now the forces of evil are looking for Seth in the world of Galadir.
Even worse, in the world that Seth left behind General Mathers is looking for him also. The general has taken DNA left at the scene by Seth and Malia, and has used it to create a serum that can make a super-human. A mysterious man in black, Cy the Betrayer, murders the lab tech in charge of the experiments and uses the serum on himself. Now that he has used the serum he can return to Galadir, and he does so. It turns out that he is a vessel for the soul of Gladius, the leader of the forces of evil whom all had hoped was dead. This is where the action really begins happening.
This tale has some exciting twists and turns and just when you think it is going one way it goes in another. The characters are well drawn, and believable, and the worlds are vivid and colorful. Morganath, the Dragon is a wonderful character. There is romance and action, although there is a certain amount of rough language, and a great deal of graphic violence. For the most part these don't detract from the tale.
Much in the way that Tad Williams does in The War of the Flowers, Thomas A Knight manages to create a neat meshing of urban fantasy and sword and sorcery. The ending is an exciting roller coaster of emotions, and I enjoyed it right to the last word. Knight has left me hanging, and waiting for the next book!