Jason Beveridge's Emperor of Mu was published in October 2017.
Information about Jason Beveridge (in his own words):
"My creative journey began while living in London designing a fantasy board game, titled the Middle Kingdom of Mu. In quiet moments, often travelling overseas on business, I had fun writing the lore and exploring different realms. Why a board game? Back then, I thought digital games would deprive our two sons of social interaction and limit their development. How the world has changed since.
Although my early career was in marketing, I never thought about creative writing, let alone whether I had the aptitude or the time. On holiday travelling to Bali, I discovered through my new Kindle, emerging novelists writing great fantasy and Sci-Fi, and this encouraged me to have a crack.
So, after years of playing the corporate warrior, I have found time to explore my creative side and give chase to wondrous ideas and storytelling that I never knew existed and sides to me I didn't know about. Yep, it's a bit self-revealing; who would have thought?
I've found that reading fantasy, especially epic fantasy, requires time and effort to allow yourself to be immersed in new worlds and their lore. So, I built a graphic website for readers to explore the World of Mu and learn about its history, lore and key characters. I'm hoping this extra effort will make the reader's journey more enjoyable and easier. Visiting www.sagaofsix.com may help you decide whether this saga is of interest before taking the plunge.
I now live in Sydney helping business owners to develop and grow their businesses (which I enjoy and pays the bills), and with the rest of my time, I pursue the wonderous."
Click here to visit the official Saga of the Six Realms website (Reader's Companion Site).
Information about Emperor of Mu:
It begins on the eve of civil war with Emperor Constantine summoning his closest confidant Salvarre to a private meeting. Sworn to secrecy, he instructs Salvarre to dispatch a letter to the Sorceress of the Powers, but the news arrives too late. Constantine is murdered, and Mu is thrown into turmoil as the rulers of the six realms decide who is to become the next emperor.
While Mu elects a successor, the outland races stir. The hunt for those with forbidden dark elf blood threatens another Elvic War. To the north, rumours spread of dragons returning after a three hundred cycle absence. In the desert lands, the fearless Imanishi defend the empire from the night demons, while South of Mu, the sea invaders consolidate their rule.
This is a story of rivalry, romances, and battles between race and kind alike that keeps you guessing with its twists and turns. Set in the medieval world of Mu, where the powers of the mind and mysticism set apart the extraordinary, this new series redefines what it means to be human.
If you like a fast-moving epic with mystery and intrigue set on a big stage, please consider this page-turner.
REVIEW: EMPEROR OF MU BY JASON BEVERIDGE
Jason Beveridge's Emperor of Mu is the first novel in the Saga of the Six Realms, which is an epic fantasy series for adult readers. It's a fascinatingly complex and enthralling reading experience for everybody who loves fantasy fiction, because the author has put a lot of time and effort into it and has paid attention to many details.
Before I delve into writing more about the contents of this novel, I think it's good to mention that if there are readers out there who have a short attention span and want instant gratification from their fantasy novels, this novel is not suitable for them. This novel requires a lot of attention and focus from readers, because the story is complex and there are many characters (if you want an easy read, you'd better find another novel to read).
I immensely enjoyed the complexity of Emperor of Mu, because I love epic, complex and immersive fantasy novels. I'm happy to say that this novel is one of the best and most complex independently published fantasy novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading (it outshines many other fantasy novels in terms of complexity and worldbuilding). I have to admit that I'm a bit amazed and loss at words at how complex a story the author has managed to write, because this kind of complexity is seldom seen in modern fantasy novels.
One of the best things about Emperor of Mu is that it's a surprisingly fast-paced fantasy novel. The author takes his time to set things up, which is good, but he does it with style and doesn't let the story become muddled with meaningless events and keeps things in motion (although the pacing is delightfully swift, nothing feels rushed in this novel). The author manages to keep the various events intriguing and maintains the reader's interest in the story by gradually revealing details about the world and the characters.
Here's a bit of information about how the story begins:
Emperor of Mu begins with Emperor Constantine having a private meeting with one of his oldest friends and confidants, the High Chancellor Salvarre. He tells Salvarre that he has discovered an evil in Mu (something that has been with them for a long time), but doesn't dare to speak of it in fear risking the lives of those closest to him. It's a discovery that changes everything. He asks Salvarre to deliver a letter to the High Priestess, because Salvarre has mentat skills that are needed to keep the secret hidden... A bit later Constantine meets the Guild Masters so that he can make them sign a document that will keep them from misusing their services. He is assassinated during the meeting before the eyes of the Guild Masters... In the Desert World of the Harkens, Na Jehlum is selected to be the Imanishi representative to vote for the next emperor. Magdaseer, the High Priestess of the Waters of Life, sends the Priestess Delseer, who has powers, to protect him on his journey... Meanwhile, the truce between the Dark Elves and the Woodelven is threatened. Prince Daarés meets Princess Yarlil and Yarlil makes Daarés a strange proposition involving animal lore...
This strong beginning sets things in motion and takes readers on an amazing journey into a vast fantasy realm where mystery, trouble, rivalry, fear, magic and mysticism, romance, adventure and intrigue abound on a grand scale.
The characterisation works well and the cast of characters is astonishingly large and diverse (besides humans, this novel has Outlander races, which bring diversity to the cast of characters). Considering how many characters there are in this novel, it's amazing how fluently the author writes about them. I like the author's way of writing about his characters, because he does it in a surprisingly effortless way without resorting to overbearing descriptions about their behaviour and characteristics. It took me a while to absorb information about the characters, but I enjoyed it and found myself fascinated by them and their deeds.
As an example of how well the characterisation works I can mention that the scene between the Grand Duchess Markeesha, her sons Prince Fredrik and Prince Justan, and the High Chancellor Salvarre after the murder of Constantine is perfect. The author fluently tells of how Markeesha feels about her current situation, the actions of her sons and Salvarre's connection to her husband.
The worldbuilding is impressive and is a big part of the novel's charm. The author's vision of the world is brought to life in a thrilling way as the story unfolds. I like his way of gradually telling things about the world and its inhabitants over several chapters. The revelations about the world's history, lore and regions offer lots of information about what the world is like and what has happened there. The various locations are brought effectively to life by revelations about their past, their inhabitants and their rulers.
The Empire of Mu is enormous and ranges vertically from Kraken Ranges to New Illanthea and horizontally all the way from Harkens Desert to Daakal Forest. The author's descriptions about these areas (and the places that lie between them) have a classic epic fantasy feel to them, because he has envisioned a distinct history for them.
I won't go into details about all of the regions and realms in this review, but I'll write a few words about Desert World of Harkens, which is home to the Imanishi so that readers will get a glimpse of the author's worldbuilding skills:
The Imanishi claim to be the true descendants of the first great civilisation of mankind. An upheaval known as Tempest destroyed the fabled capital of the ancient civilisation, Onness, and sea retreated to leave great tracks of sand. This was followed by The Great Desolation, which ultimately led to the formation of the Harkens Desert. Tempest opened a gate to the Otherworld and unleashed hordes of night denizens. The other realms respect the Imanishi for what they do, but many believe that the Imanishi are beyond returning to civilised society because of their hard existence and constant fight against a nightmarish foe.
As you can see by this brief description about the Desert World and the Imanishi, the author has paid a lot of attention to details in his worldbuilding. The other areas are also fascinating and well-realised.
It was intriguing for me to read about the Mentats, mind-magic, mysticism and the powers of the mind, because I enjoy reading about these things. There's something fresh about the author's way of writing about these powers that makes his vision of them refreshingly different.
As an example of how well the author uses mental powers in this novel, I can mention that there's a thrilling scene between the Queen Adela of Illanthea and a hateful foe that is very powerful. This mind meld scene is well-created and very effective, because the Queen has to face dangerous and evil creatures.
There are many excellent scenes in this novel. What happens between Daarés and Yarlil is also handled excellently, but - in fear of writing major spoilers - I won't reveal more about these things. I also want to mention that the discussion between Gilgames and Cheadle about the Old Ones and things related to them is very good.
It's great that this novel has good maps, because they help the reader to form a coherent picture of the world. The list of characters is also useful to the reader. Because there's quite a lot to take in in this novel, these appendixes increase the reading pleasure.
There's something about this novel that slightly reminds me of Bradley P. Beaulieu, Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont, because it's a combination of various elements ranging from politics and magic to mystery and intrigue that have been blended seamlessly into one another. This novel also has a tiny dash of Tolkienesque elements.
I liked this novel very much and found it fascinating. When I began to read it, I was instantly drawn to the happenings and was excited to read about the world and its wonders. There were a few rough spots in which a bit more descriptive language could've worked in favour of the story, but they didn't bother me much, because the story intrigued me and I wanted to find out what happens next. I look forward to reading the next novel, because this novel was an excellent introduction to a new and exciting fantasy world.
If you want to read an epic fantasy novel you can immerse yourself into and don't want it to end too soon, you should take a look at Jason Beveridge's Emperor of Mu. This novel is one of the best independently fantasy novels available for epic fantasy readers and should be read by those who love complex and intricate stories.
My final words are:
This novel is excellent and immersive fantasy fiction for adults who love complex novels!