THE LORE OF PROMETHEUS by Graham Austin-King, Fallen Leaf Press
Reviewed by Shona Kinsella
You may remember that reviewed Faithless by Graham Austin-King last year on this site and I really enjoyed it. You won’t be surprised then that when the author got in touch to ask if I would be interested in reviewing his latest release, I was happy to accept.
The Lore of Prometheus is totally different from Faithless, and I believe, from any of the author’s other books. It’s always a bit of a scary step for an author, to write a different kind of story. Will your readers come with you? Will you be able to pull it off? Will you find an audience for this new thing that you’re creating? Well, I can tell you that I’m glad that he took the plunge and wrote this book.
For John Carver, the last five years have been tough. Ever since his last tour in Kabul, where most of his team died, he’s been down on his luck – not to mention haunted by the members of his squad who were killed. When John hits rock bottom and his loan shark calls in his debt, he has no choice but to go to an old friend for a job doing security work. Of course, it had to be in Kabul, the last place on earth Carver wants to go. He’s known there, a legend follows him around. John Carver, the miracle of Kabul.
Mackenzie is an Australian nurse who is kidnapped while working in Afghanistan. She wakes up, naked and bound to a wooden frame. Over the course of the book, she is tortured, bullied, starved and eventually broken, all in the pursuit of her power. A power that Mackenzie does not believe she has and cannot access at will. When Mackenzie was a child, here family were killed in a house fire – one that mysteriously left Mackenzie untouched. The men who are holding her captive will not let her rest until she has harnessed control of fire – or dies trying.
This is a fast-paced and intense novel. After I had started it, I really didn’t want to put it down. It’s very much grounded in the real world and within the context of the story, the magic displayed by the main characters feels very realistic. The trigger for the magic is brokenness, madness of a sort. Something imposed on people by their abduction and subsequent torture but a state of mind that Carver is already hovering close to in the form of PTSD which is deeply rooted into his character.
It all builds up to a logical but not predictable ending. Things get quite explosive and the author portrays the violence and its effect on the characters very realistically, to my mind. Some readers may find this book difficult – it handles delicate subject matter after all, but it does so in a sensitive way.
The Lore of Prometheus would probably be categorised as military science fiction or military fantasy. I can’t quite decide where it fits because I haven’t really read anything like it before. Fresh, well-written and engaging, it’s certainly worth your time.