Information about Richard A. Knaak:
Richard A. Knaak is the New York Times- and USA Today-bestselling author of The Legend of Huma, WoW: Wolfheart, and nearly fifty other novels and numerous short stories, including works in such series as Warcraft, Diablo, Dragonlance, Age of Conan, and his own Dragonrealm. He has scripted a number of Warcraft manga with Tokyopop, such as the top-selling Sunwell trilogy, and has also written background material for games. His works have been published worldwide in many languages. His most recent releases include Shade - a brand-new Dragonrealm novel featuring the tragic sorcerer - Dawn of the Aspects - the latest in the bestselling World of Warcraft series, and the fourth collection in his Legends of the Dragonrealm series. He is presently at work on several other projects.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Black City Saint:
For more than sixteen hundred years, Nick Medea has followed and guarded the Gate that keeps the mortal realm and that of Feirie separate, seeking in vain absolution for the fatal errors he made when he slew the dragon. All that while, he has tried and failed to keep the woman he loves from dying over and over.
Yet in the fifty years since the Night the Dragon Breathed over the city of Chicago, the Gate has not only remained fixed, but open to the trespasses of the Wyld, the darkest of the Feiriefolk. Not only does that mean an evil resurrected from Nick’s own past, but the reincarnation of his lost Cleolinda, a reincarnation destined once more to die.
Nick must turn inward to that which he distrusts the most: the Dragon, the beast he slew when he was still only Saint George. He must turn to the monster residing in him, now a part of him... but ever seeking escape.
The gang war brewing between Prohibition bootleggers may be the least of his concerns. If Nick cannot prevent an old evil from opening the way between realms... then not only might Chicago face a fate worse than the Great Fire, but so will the rest of the mortal realm.
A REVIEW OF BLACK CITY SAINT
Richard A. Knaak's Black City Saint was a pleasant surprise for me. It's one of the finest and most impressive urban fantasy novels I've read during the recent years, because it has everything one could ever hope to find in urban fantasy. I'm normally difficult to please when it comes to urban fantasy, because I have a kind of a love-hate relationship with it, but I loved everything about this novel and was instantly hooked by the story.
Because I've often been more than a bit annoyed with the low quality of many urban fantasy novels, I was positively surprised by Black City Saint and its high quality. I honestly couldn't believe how good and fascinating it is, because I've come to expect mediocrity and staleness from most urban fantasy novels and have seldom been positively surprised by them.
Black City Saint is a delightfully fresh and intriguing take on urban fantasy due to its multithreaded story and unique setting. I found its intricate complexity refreshing, because the author has clearly put a lot of effort into it and has not settled for mediocrity. In my opinion, this novel has a lot more depth than many other urban fantasy novels put together and its entertainment values are high, because the author uses well-known elements in a fresh way and pays attention to the story.
Here's a bit of information about the story:
The story begins with Nick ridding a household of one of the shadowfolk who has taken residence there. The arachnid creature is difficult to kill, but Nick succeeds in it. Nick knows that the Gate has been breached and the Wyld have come through it. Soon he is contacted by a new client who turns out to be the reincarnation of his ancient beloved Cleolinda, who is destined to appear into Nick's life and die, over and over again. Nick finds out that an ancient evil, which he thought was dead, is very much alive and poses a severe threat to the world and the mankind...
This is the beginning of an enjoyable fantasy tale with plenty of intriguing events and surprises. The story is so entertaining that once you begin to read it, you'll find yourself hooked by it and won't be able to stop reading it until you've reached the last page.
I'm happy to say that this novel features some of the best and most fluent characterisation ever seen in urban fantasy novels. As a fan of good characterisation I was pleasantly surprised by how compelling and complex the characters are, because they're well developed and the various complexities of their lives are gradually revealed to the reader.
Nick Medea is a fascinating protagonist, because he's a complicated man, who is a gatekeeper between the realms of the mankind and the Feirie. He has guarded the Gate for centuries since killing the dragon which was its guardian. He lives a simple and solitary life, but his life is actually anything but simple, because he is haunted by his past and has to deal with the dangerous and evil Wyld who have trespassed through the Gate.
What makes Nick especially interesting is that when he visits church and enters upon holy ground, a ghostly spectre of the Emperor Diocletian of Rome appears and talks to him. Nick also has a symbiotic relationship with a dragon, because he shares his body with a spirit of the dragon he killed centuries ago. He constantly struggles with the dragon, because it gives him powerful abilities, but it also awaits for an opportunity to unleash its fiery wrath and destruction upon the world.
Fetch is Nick's companion and calls him Master. He's a shapeshifter who has been cast out from the realm of the Feirie. His way of speaking is amusing, because he often uses slang words to Nick's annoyance.
Kravayik is also an exile from the realm of the Feirie and has taken a bit different route with his life, because he has joined the Church. Just like Fetch, he helps Nick.
Claryce Simone is the reincarnation of Cleolinda, who is Nick's ancient and lost beloved. Cleolinda has been cursed to appear into Nick's life and perish, over and over again. Nick tries to keep her alive and safe from harm.
It was fascinating to read about the Wyld, the darkest of the Feiriefolk, because they cause havoc and severe problems to the mankind. I especially enjoyed reading about the worst or the Wyld, Oberon, because he is described as a cunning and malicious being whose evil plans threaten the world.
One of the main reasons why Black City Saint stands out among other novels of its kind is its unique and fresh setting. The 1920s Chicago with its bootlegger wars acts as a perfect backdrop for the story, because everything about the setting feels compelling. The author's sense of time and place is amazing, because he effortlessly creates a vibrant vision of old Chicago and its surroundings.
I think it's great that Richard A. Knaak doesn't explain any historical happenings, but concentrates on delivering a good and addictive story. The historical details come wonderfully to life during the story as readers are transported into an old Chicago where bootlegger wars brew and society is on the brink of change. These details are an essential part of the charm of this novel.
The author's way of combining elements of magic and realism works perfectly. The story has just the right amount of magic and harsh realism to be intriguing and addictive. The descriptions about magic and how it works are handled well, and so are the detective and private investigator elements.
Before I write the final paragraphs of this review, I have to mention that I was truly impressed by the multithreaded and well-constructed story, because I enjoy reading complex stories that have depth and style. I consider this novel to be a real gem among urban fantasy novels, because it's highly enjoyable and entertaining in every regard.
This novel has echoes of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series and Ari Marmell's Mick Oberon novels, but is wholly original and satisfyingly fresh. It's a subtle combination of various elements that together form a highly enjoyable and addictive reading experience.
I like Richard A. Knaak's writing style, because he fluently maintains a fine balance between depth and style. His way of writing about the happenings and the characters appealed to me and I found myself devouring the story as fast as I could (I can mention that this seldom happens when I read urban fantasy). I intend to read the second novel, Black City Demon, as soon as possible, because I enjoyed this novel very much.
If you consider yourself to be a fan of urban fantasy, you must read Richard A. Knaaks' Black City Saint. It's essential reading material to fantasy readers who love urban fantasy, because it's one of the finest novels of its kind. It's first-rate entertainment to everyone who enjoys good fiction.
Excellent urban fantasy fiction!