Eldon Thompson's The Ukinhan Wilds was published by Cyndyn in August 2018.

Information about Eldon Thompson:

Eldon Thompson is the author of The Legend of Asahiel trilogy: The Crimson Sword, The Obsidian Key and The Divine Talisman.

Click here to visit his official website.

Information about The Ukinhan Wilds:

Assassin. Rogue. Demon’s bane. Dragon-slayer. Kylac Kronus has been called many names, and earned every one of them. Months shy of his seventeenth spring, he is already the deadliest man alive. Nothing - be it man or beast - has been able to prove otherwise.

Uncomfortable with his newfound fame following the War of the Demon Queen, Kylac seeks fresh adventure overseas, recruited by a band of outlanders under royal commission to escort a kidnapped princess back to her father, King Kendarrion, ruler of the Sundered Isle. They warn him that, to do so, he will brave tempest seas full of raging leviathans while seeking to evade those responsible for the princess’s abduction - including a terrifying mutant left over from the days of the Mage Wars.

Kylac readily agrees.

But when the mutant proves as cunning as it is savage, the perilous voyage gives way to an even deadlier trek across a poisoned wilderness once home to the ancient Gorrethrehn - “Breeders” - a sect of magi known for their foul creation practices. Stalked by bestial denizens, treacherous companions, and horrors that his blades cannot touch, Kylac finds himself embattled as never before. For the mutant is relentless in its hunt, the island’s terrors do not rest, and not even the deadliest man alive can hope to emerge unscathed.

REVIEW: THE UKINHAN WILDS BY ELDON THOMPSON

Eldon Thompson's The Ukinhan Wilds is the first novel in the Warder trilogy, which takes place in the same fantasy world as the author's The Legend of Asahiel trilogy, but can be read independently. This novel is a fine and fast-paced fantasy adventure that feels like a breath of fresh air among other new fantasy novels, because it's entertaining escapism from start to finish.

I think it's good to point out that whether you like this novel or not depends entirely on how you feel about fantasy adventures, heroic fantasy and fast-paced tales. If you're into reading well-realised adventure tales and love fantasy fiction with action scenes, you'll be thrilled to read this novel and will be pleased with it. I personally enjoyed this novel, because it feels kind of like a throwback to the good old days when fantasy adventures and heroic fantasy stories were in full bloom.

The Ukinhan Wilds is an epic fantasy adventure that is filled with a sense of grand adventure and foreboding danger. If you have an appetite for epic and classic fantasy adventures, this novel is guaranteed to satisfy you in every possible way, because it has everything a devoted fan of the genre could ever hope for. This novel's old-fashioned atmosphere is impressive, because the author has captured the essence of what a good fantasy adventure has at its core: action, danger, fun, freshness and excitement.

The Ukinhan Wilds reunites readers with Kylac Kronus from The Legend of Asahiel trilogy. In this novel, Kylac has become a bit bored and seeks fresh and new adventures. He manages to get himself recruited by a band of men under royal commission to escort a kidnapped princess back to her father, King Kendarrion, who is the ruler of the Sundered Isle. He is warned that a powerful and terrifying mutant, bred by the extinct sect of magi known as the Breeders, is after the princess. As Kylac and the crew begin their journey towards the Sundered Isle, they face many perils and have to find a safe way through the Ukinhan Wilds.

The perilous journey across the deadly Ukinhan Wilds where the groll and other dangerous creatures live is memorable and full of action, danger and death. It was thrilling to read about how Kylac and the others made their way across the wilderness, because survival in the poisonous wilderness was difficult and death could come at any moment in any way without warning (even if one was careful, something bad could easily happen).

The characterisation is the only thing about this novel that could be better, because there's not much character development. Fortunately, it's easy to forget this minor flaw, because the main focus is on fast-paced action and swiftly flowing adventure, which more than makes up for the lack of characterisation.

I enjoyed reading about Kylac Kronus and his deeds, because he is unlike other fantasy characters in recent epic fantasy novels. He is the deadliest man alive and knows how to handle various adversaries ranging from human beings to monsters. He has a thirst for adventure and danger. Kylac is not your normal kind of a hero figure, because he can be seen as a swashbuckling youngster with a yearning for action and adventures.

The princess Denariel is quite an interesting person, because she doesn't act at all like a princess should, but is rather grumpy and despises other people. She has a temper and she lashes out at those who try to help her. I was fascinated by what was revealed about her situation during the story, because it was more complex than I had assumed.

The author's descriptions about what kind of tensions exist between Kylac and the other men and how Kylac handles them are intriguing. I especially enjoyed reading about what happens between Kylac and Hadrum, because it was handled well by the author.

The worldbuilding is fluent and the various places described in the story are brought to life in a vivid way. It was interesting to read about the Sundered Isle and especially about its wilderness, because it's a dangerous place for human beings. I can mention that the different areas ranging from the Shattered Fingers to the Cindercrag are sights to behold and it's a pleasure to read about them.

The groll are fascinating monsters, because they've been bred to be fearsome, relentless and powerful. They can survive under any conditions and on any terrain, and their wounds are self-healing. They're difficult to kill and they pursue their prey without mercy. The Breeders created them to be nearly invincible, so killing them is extremely difficult.

The groll are not the only creatures that live in the wilderness. Other creatures (for example, very deadly scorpions) can be found there. Besides being riddled with dangerous creatures, there are many poisonous plants in the wilderness and they can cause many kinds of problems.

I like the author's effortless and swift writing style, because it fits the story. His fast-paced storytelling is entertaining and enjoyable, because he manages to evoke a sense of adventure and danger with his prose and surprises readers with a few plot twists. One of the main reasons why I like the author's writing style is that his descriptions of the different locales, life on ship and survival in the wilderness are atmospheric.

I have to mention that there's something charmingly old-fashioned about this novel that I liked a lot. In my opinion, this novel has the same kind of charm to it as the first Shannara novels written by Terry Brooks and the first Midkemia novels by Raymond E. Feist. Because I like the early novels by both authors, I felt instantly at home with this novel when I began to read it.

I give this novel strong four stars on the scale from one to five stars, because I enjoyed it and was pleased with its entertainment values (the only thing that bothered me a bit was the lack of character development). It was fun to read something light and exciting for a change, because I've mostly read heavier fantasy novels during the recent months. I'll soon read the sequel, The Blackmoon Shards, because the author hooked me with his story and I want to find out how the adventure continues.

Eldon Thompson's The Ukinhan Wilds is fantasy escapism of the highest order, because it's an entertaining and surprisingly fresh reading experience. If you love fast-paced fantasy adventures and heroic fantasy, you'll most likely find this novel entertaining and will enjoy it. This is a perfect novel for those moments when you want to forget everything else for a while and immerse yourself in an action-packed adventure.

(PS. If you're a fan of The Legend of Asahiel trilogy, this novel is a must-read for you.)

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