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Talk about make my day. Being compared twice now to the late David Gemmell has rolled all my birthdays into one. This review is from: EVIL NEVER DIES (MAXILLA TALES, #1) (Kindle Edition) ‘The Maxilla are a peaceful clan but when rumours of dark magic arrive once again, can they survive the threat from, Myracadonis, the shaman? Tarn will lead the Maxilla into battle for the first time, but a man with the mark of greatness will always have enemies. Grona hates everyone, including his son, Tarn. Both are destined to be heroes yet only one can stand before the gates of Hell and win.’ The novel lays details the Maxilla clan and their struggle against the Helg nation. A previous massacre has led to the different clans becoming united and settled in a peaceful world, but when word is sent that the Helg nation are planning to go to war with the clan, they must act and take the war to them. This novel dives headlong into the action, with scenes of bloodshed and battle; Haynes is certainly not afraid to deliver death and destruction. We then shoot further forward in time to a more peaceful civilisation. However there is soon cause for fear as war is now on the doorstep of the peaceful clan. The protagonist in this story is Tarn, a village boy whose deeds in the first battle have propelled him to a respected status in the army. He is now living a peaceful life but must join his comrades and go to war. I found Tarn to be a very strong character, he is your archetypal hero in that he is the ‘Light’ who must fight the ‘Dark’/evil. Tarn is predictable in that you know he will sacrifice himself for his people and his men and will make the ‘heroic’ choice, the right choice. However, this does not diminish his influence in the novel, you still will him to succeed. What Haynes has also done well is to make him vulnerable; there is a loss that shadows him and that the reader can feel affects him. Also, whilst strong and skilled, Tarn is not invulnerable and requires support from others and this is crucial when putting him in battle because you feel, as the reader, that he may die. Haynes has also created a world of good and evil, darkness and light and is very Gemmell-like in the way it functions, there is no grey here, we, as the reader, know whose side we are on. The storyline flows very well and is simple in its function which helps the reader to fully understand what the author is saying and building. The ‘magic system’ is not new but is still interesting and is used well. What Haynes does do well is juxtapose the lives of the humans to that of the gods, there is an arrogance that stems from omnipotence and this is detailed very well. The plans of the gods are known to the reader and provides a context to the world in which the story takes place. Humans are very much the pawns in this game of war and the gods are the players. The action within this novel is well detailed and there is bloodshed aplenty, the tension, however, the weakness of the novel is the antagonist ‘Myracadonis’. I feel as though, while he has some power given to him, he is not the threat that he should be. All being told, he does wreak enough havoc to be believable as a force of evil but that the tragedies he causes could have been brought ‘closer to home’. Summary Overall I really enjoyed this book and read it in two sittings. The action is built up well and delivered wholeheartedly and the characters are interesting. There is a lot of scope for the world to be explored and readers will invest in the ‘Maxilla Tales’ series. Recommendation Readers of David Gemmell’s works will really enjoy this novel, the flow of action and story is very similar and does not stop to take a breath. The pace is frenetic and leads the reader to more battles and action fuelled scenes. I would recommend this to readers who are looking for a good, fast paced novel that does not ask too much from them.

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