Regular visitors may notice I’ve reviewed a lot of books by Steve Wetherell, and the reason I guess should be obvious. I’m a huge fan of the books he puts out!
A few days ago I bought this one, Far Into The Dark, after being reminded of it through a Facebook post.
Mister Wetherell was sharing the new cover art for Far Into The Dark (previously titled “Into The Black”, but renamed to separate it from a bunch of others of the same name), which prompted me to go check it out.
What’s it all about then? First, let’s check out the blurb:
Fitch is an orphan, a servant to dogs, and the lowest of the low in Castle Blacking, but he is a boy in love and he’ll face untold terrors to prove himself.
Karyzu is a blaggart, a brawler and a drunk, but he’s also a legendary sword fighter and the only man around who has journeyed through Hell and lived to tell about it.
Pursuing them both is Clayton Dower, the mysterious grave digger who won’t rest until he sees what belongs buried stay buried.
In a journey that will test the limits of their courage, boy and man will travel to the underworld and face scenes of obscene torture, abject hopelessness and monsters both vile and ridiculous, while above them the world of mortals stumbles inexorably into civil war.
So the story begins with a little back story for the characters. We meet Fitch, lowly servant boy but cunning and sneaky with aspirations for greatness. And we also meet Karyzu, the best swordfighter there ever was, past tense because he gets sent to Hell.
But that doesn’t deter him and he promptly escapes from Hell and lives to drink another day.
Meanwhile, the princess of Castle Blacking, the untouchable love of Fitches life commits suicide by diving from her castle window. Fitch, overcome with grief and hearing of Karyzu’s escape from Hell makes it his mission to rescue the princess from Hell.
Together, Fitch and Karyzu make a comically mismatched band journeying to Hell and back. On the way they meet a number of unique characters. The demons in Hell were, I thought, particularly unique. Even Hell itself and the zones they passed through were vividly described, to the point I’m sure I saw them exactly as the author imagined them to be.
There’s a second story line running through the novel, a political situation brewing above ground while our hero’s make their journey through hell. The royal blood line is slowly being taken out by the clergy in an underhanded attempt to gain control of the throne. Thinking back now (having finished the book last night), it seems to me this plot line and its characters were too well defined to be left hanging. Unless I’m misinterpreting it, it reads like Mister Wetherell was laying the groundwork for a future novel in this universe.
In a recent post on Facebook about Far Into The Dark (the same one that prompted me to go buy the book), Mister Wetherell said…
“This book is probably my least well selling, but it’s also the one I have most affection for…”
…which is a shame, because it’s a really enjoyable and well-written book. I hope it sees the success it deserves if for no other than the selfish reason of wanting to read more adventures of Fitch and Karyzu.
Humorous dark fantasy with soul… and cack demons. Loved it.