Ryk Spoor’s epic fantasy, Phoenix Rising, is unique in a lot of ways. For one thing, it is tied into several of his other works (most notably, Digital Knight/Paradigms Lost). If you’ve read some of his other books, it’s neat to see how things are connected.
The story seems simple enough, at its base: a young woman sets out in pursuit of justice after the murder of her family. The twists and turns, the betrayals and friendships are what make the story stand out, even as the richness of the universe is what makes the whole series worthwhile.
The world he created is full and rich with both characters and places, with a history and mythos that has as much to do with the story as the present day actions of characters. Most impressive, in some ways, is how real some of his characters seem based upon their motivations and actions, no matter how outlandish they are in other ways.
My favorite, I must confess, is Poplock Duckweed, an intelligent toad. Whereas other heroes in the book have superhuman strength, magical weapons, or arcane might, or even some combination thereof, Poplock makes due with his wits and his slight size.
One reason I like Ryk Spoor’s fantasy books is that the heroes are men and women (and toads) who take a stand for what they believe in. They go out and confront evil. While this might seem simplistic, it isn’t to say there aren’t all levels of other characters, good, bad, and everything in between. Against the dark and gray characters, his heroes shine all the brighter. To top this off, the humor and action are both top notch and the story is complex enough to keep you guessing right up until the end. If you haven’t read Ryk Spoor’s Phoenix Rising, you definitely need to pick it up.
Kyri: a highborn young woman whose life is shattered by the murder of her kin. But even as Kyri flees her beloved land Evanwyl, she knows that she is her family’s only hope for justice, and Evanwyl’s only chance to escape a growing shadow of corruption and destruction.
Now Kyri must venture across Zarathan, a world on the brink of a long foretold Chaos War. It is a struggle that may usher in a long age of darkness— that is, if Kyri and her companions do not succeed in holding back the tide of evil that is rising. Those companions include valiant swordsman Tobimar Silverun, Prince of Skysand, exiled on the turn of a card and a prophecy, who is now seeking his people’s lost homeland; and Poplock Duckweed, an unlikely hero whose diminutive size is as much a weapon as it is a weakness.
Kyri’s quest is as simple as it is profound: find a legendary ancient weaponsmith, take up the sword and armor of a new order of warrior defenders, and bring the power of justice and vengeance to the evil and corruption that has darkened her native land.