I received an advanced review copy of this novella from the author. I don’t normally review fantasy titles, but I made an exception for this author because I know him personally. He is one of my advanced Latin students.
As I have noted above I don’t usually read or review books in the fantasy genre. It’s just not something that usually catches my attention, but when Mr. Webber sent me an e-mail to request a review how could I possibly say no? He is one of the best students of Latin I have and, in fact, he is one of the most talented students I have ever had in my classes, so I was intrigued to see his writings.
Corven and the Krow is set in a pre-industrial, rural, agrarian society that one might encounter in The Lord of the Rings or, for those who are familiar with fantasy video games, in Skyrim. The novella consists of a series of shorter stories which are all interconnected. I was immediately drawn in by the set-up of the novella which describes a young girl sitting in a wagon being driven by an old man who has a large book out of which she reads this collection of stories. We have no idea what the relationship is between these two or where they are going. But is appears that these stories are meant to teach her some life lessons.
One of the figures that looms large and menacing over the entire story is the King Drevlyn, to whom we are introduced in the first story. It is this cruel and powerful king around whom all of the stories revolve. We learn that he defeated his predecessor in a bloody battle and has no mercy for anyone who did not take his side. He demands loyalty and tribute even from the lowest members of his realm, including poor farmers. If they don’t comply with the King’s demands then the punishment is swift and brutal.
The true talent of this author lies in his ability to create and fully describe an entire new world. It is an amazing feat for an author to write a story set in the here and now, the contemporary world. But I truly admire an author who can create an original world and convey the minute details about that world to others. The world of Corven and the King and the Krow have objects and settings familiar to us, but they are crafted within the text in such a way as to encompass an entirely new and different world.
Finally, I have to mention the author’s obvious appreciation for and knowledge of the classical world. The final story in the collection, Vita est Flumen (Life is a River), is an obvious nod to his classical education, but there are much deeper thoughts that are taken from Stoic philosophy. All of life is constantly in flux; life is oftentimes not fair and circumstances do not work out how we would wish. What is important in this life is our reaction to events that are out of our control. We must, essentially, go with the flow.
The author also designed his own cover art, which gives us a small preview of this fantasy world. Please check out the author’s page on Amazon for more information: https://www.amazon.com/Corven-Krow-Jacob-K-Webber-ebook/dp/B01EIVWJ7S?ie=UTF8&keywords=jacob%20k.%20webber&qid=1464550195&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1