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by Col Buchanan

Release Date: 5th Mar 2010
Publisher: Pan Macmillian
ISBN: 978 0 2307 4481 3
RRP: £17.99

Average Customer Rating: 
(5.0 based on 2 ratings)

A searing new fantasy series that sets the blood pumping...

Combining old world technology and weaponry with the relatively modern pistol and gunpowder; Farlander: The Heart of the World is an amalgamation of historical eras in human history. The Empire of Mann is set on devouring the world. It gorges greedily on those continents already abased; whilst striving ever forward in its insatiable lust for more. The Mannians have, however, hit a snag – Bar-Khos, one of the Free Ports, is refusing to succumb to their incessant pounding; their “Shield” (a series of massive walls) standing between the city’s people and Mann’s army – a defiant stand that has lasted ten years. It is the Mannian’s unadulterated perception of their own might that acts as catalyst: the only son of the Holy Matriarch daring to murder in cold blood a young woman protected by the Roshun seal, setting in motion the need for Vendetta and a direct assault on the self-proclaimed rulers of the known world.

The Farlander himself (Ash) is a conundrum, but a delightful one. Old, sombre and melancholic; he is hardly the typical hero and through Ash, Buchanan challenges our notions of the elderly and their capabilities. Not infallible, Ash is entirely human. Suffering with a debilitating illness and enduring bouts of agony and blindness; he is also prone to the occasional lapse in judgement. Buchanan’s treatment of Nico is brash, unconventional and holds a surprising twist that speaks volumes about this author’s determination to stand out from the crowd.

The concept of the religious order of “Mann” is singular in its approach and poses philosophical questions about humanity’s perception of self, of a need for conscience, morality and ethical behaviour. Being a devotee of Mann is to flush out any sense of moral obligation, selflessness or empathy; it is to become consumed by the “divine flesh” – to revel in the animalistic and nihilistic whims and desires deriving from the basest of appetites. Such activities as “culls” (whereby randomly selected subjects are drugged, tortured and killed) or “purges” come across as barbaric – and yet, there is some undeniable logic behind these crude actions – a startling resonance towards that period in history of the Inquisitions and extreme religious fervour.

Bold, fearless in execution, exhilaratingly new and with a steely intensity – there are no signs of nervousness from this debut author. Buchanan stretches out his imagination and glories in the freedom of creating an entirely unique universe – a new world order. Buchanan’s rich tapestry of life experiences has doubtlessly influenced his manipulation of characters; interweaving reckless abandon and a level of cynical realism that is rare in fiction. Farlander, then, has staked its claim vociferously – this is series to be reckoned with. Everyone take note.

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14 October 2011: Wayne Sansom wrote:
Farlander.. What a great book I was hooked from the start. An amazing story with a superb twist I wasn't expecting. I can't wait to get started on Stands a Shadow which I've just bought.
13 April 2011: J. Lopez wrote:
Compelling reading. Can't wait for another book. Writing drew me right into the world of Ash. Hard to put down.

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