“Dashryn Cowl has run out of places to hide. The erstwhile sorcerer of the Imperial College fled the Bolgravian Empire when his high-flying family fell from grace, but the tyrannical empire is still hunting for him. So when he gets his hands on a map showing a place outside the known lands rich in istariol, the mineral that fuels sorcery, he sees a way back to power. There’s only one problem: it means masquerading as an Imperial Cartomancer (an instant death sentence) and finding some dupes to help him mine the istariol in secret, no questions asked.But somehow, amid the dangers of the road (floods and avalanches, beasts, barbarians and monsters), a strange thing begins to happen: Dashryn starts to care about his ragtag followers and their strange odyssey into the ruins of an ancient forgotten civilization. But his past won’t let him be: the implacable Imperial Bloodhound Toran Zorne has caught his scent, and Zorne has never yet failed to bring his quarry to ground.
At the edge of the map, there’s no going forward and no going back . . .”
Map’s Edge by David Hair is a page-turning adventure filled with excitement and intriguing characters. Fast paced, the story moves from a hideaway shack in a remote village where the main character Raythe Vyre, a sorcerer who led a rebellion against a cruel and heartless empire, now disguised as Dash, opens his door to unexpected visitors. With blood on his hands he flees with his daughter on a quest to find a mineral lode of magical ore and convinces a good portion of the village to go with him. From there they journey to the map’s edge with predators both following them and bursting out at them along the way. Map’s Edge is indeed a rightful title for this epic fantasy.
Through all the dangers one would expect on an epic journey that rambles over uncharted landscapes, haunted forests, and grueling icy mountains, there is never a moments rest for our heroes. Perhaps a moment to catch our breath might have been slipped in for the readers’ sake as the tension builds quickly and doesn’t relent!
For those loving an epic fantasy, with plenty of sword play, gun fights, bare-fisted combat, and battles between sorcerers, this book is for you. Lots of blood and gore, and I must caution you there is a cliff hanger ending that will take you to the sequel. Hair includes the first few chapters of the next book in the digital version.
The plot is a cat-and-mouse troupe, a simple flee and be pursued narrative, but Hair provides plenty of treachery and twists to keep Map’s Edge alive and the reader guessing.
The few nitpicks are on the world building itself. Throughout the entire read I was not entirely grounded in the era. I realize Map’s Edge is a fantasy but oftentimes with the drawls of some of the characters, the transportation methods, and the weaponry it reads more as a western. Once accustomed to these peculiarities I was able to accept them, but there were some instances that referred to an even more modern era that took me out of the story momentarily.
Hair’s characters are diverse and entertaining, and several of them show some valuable arcs that are satisfying, their backgrounds developed and fodder for more story in the future. Our main character has a well rounded story arc as he moves from a hunted man to a leader of a people whom he develops compassion for. Several of the supporting characters were easier to warm up to than Raythe but that’s common in a book with an abundance of characters. The reader may even find sympathy for some of the antagonists. That being said, Map’s Edge is a plot driven story and its strengths are in the battles scenes, and the magic.
The supernatural world in Map’s Edge is extremely well developed, and I give kudos to Hair for that. It’s not easy writing magic that has a unique and believable foundation and in Map’s Edge we see a well thought-out magic system, or rather several magic systems all vying against each other. The world of the ancients continually haunts our heroes and heightens the tension.
Map’s Edge is an entertaining fantasy novel and will definitely sooth the appetite of lovers of the genre who are looking for an adventurous and fast moving story.