The Fire King (The Alterra Histories) by C.S. Marks


C.S. Marks The Fire King CoverThis Novella is the first in a series of infamous characters briefly mentioned within the Alterra trilogy by C. S .Marks. This story will begin an insatiable hunger for more Alterra history; such was the impact on this reader’s soul. So sit back, relax and let this journey sweep you back into a time in history, when the Elven race were majestic, magnificent, portrayed dominion above all, and they knew it!

The tale begins with a young orphan Elfling, with a burning inner-light and a pale rune-mark on the right side of his forehead, found to be living amongst the ancestors of the Tuatha, a rather primitive northern human race. Taken into care by the Eolar of the ancient realm of Tal- Elathias, he began to be trained in all knowledge and enlightenment, as was their custom for one that had been marked by the Lord of Light. The Elfling came to be named “Caladon,” as a child he exhibited characteristics of sheer arrogance coupled with an innate regal quality, he very quickly shone out from his peers. Caladon was beauty to perfection as he grew older, he needed, No! He demanded the best of himself, ever obligingly over confident with his warrior skills and decision making abilities. He fought with savagery and bravado, learnt survival at all costs from his enemies and found there was no place for honour on the battle field. To say he was reckless, with death defying feats was beyond belief, he earnt many accolades and rose quickly up the ranks. Caladon would soon earn the name “Aincor”, meaning Fire-Heart for slaying a troublesome dragon single handed.

Aincor becomes the protagonist in this multi layered story, endearing, yet frustrating. He begins a tale that has ramifications down through Alterra history, similar to a set of spiralling dominoes set up to fall. Unpeeling the plot layers, you find many inner stories that add texture and voice to Aincors character. There is life as the King of the Eolar, insight into Elven politics and mysticisms, the wonderful descriptions of life and scenery in Tal- Elathias, fierce friendships, family battles and the finding of his one kryptonite, if found out by his enemy, could be exploited to his ruination with tragic consequences.

The clarity, originality and fluidity of the writing, brought an elegance and aesthetic quality to this tale, not often experienced by this reader. The character and plot balance enhanced the experience as word building, gramma, syntax dramatised the realistic scenes and action sequences. There were dynamic characters that through experiences within the story rounded nicely into three dimensional characters. This included his evilness, our most exalted one, ‘The Lord Wrothgar.’ As the nemesis (antagonist) of Aincor he will devise and use any apparent weakness he perceives, to win the day and take dominion over all living creatures. So, out come all the dirty tricks in his evil repertoire and one secret that lay hidden from all, for the grand finale.

Lord Wrothgar is a talented black wizard, older than time recorded, that despises the Eolar, and anything wholesome, good and especially love. His loathsome creations, the Bodvans, together with a few acid oozing dragons are his minions, only doing his bidding out of sheer terror and blind worship. The pivotal point arrives as Lord Wrothgar plans a devious and cunning plot to lure Aincor and his army to his fortress. Aincors arrogance and belief in his ability to understand his enemy will lead to many confrontations within house and with the enemy. These scenes flow faster as the story reaches a crisis point.

The story portrayed the best and the worst in a society, where love does not conquer all, where characters of enlightenment have flaws so deep they can swallow a whole race. Where evilness using creatures from legends to force a scene so traumatic it will leave you emotionally vulnerable. Where sadness is history remembering events differently, never knowing the truth; that endearing love and self sacrifice can win the day.

This reader suggests reading at least Elf hunter first, as this will set the scene for this novella. Did someone say sit down, relax and let the story take you on a journey of discovery through Elven history. My mistake, should have said, sit down, strap yourself in and grab a strong drink. Tissues! You will need lots of tissues. A superbly thought out, quality piece of writing, which was thoroughly engrossing. The first domino has fallen…….


Criteria Relevant information Mark
1. Perception:

  • Believability
  • Correct science
  • Correct fiction facts
  • Society makes sense
  • Type of writing, smooth flow/ how is the transition from Descriptive to Narrative.
  • The world of the Alterra was believable in its intent, content and purpose.
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes within the context of this genre.
  • The writing, with its expertise of word building and sentence structure produced smooth flow within the rhythm of the story, the multi layered plot and characters, with seamless transition from descriptive to conversational/narrative style.
(5 / 5)
2. Grammar :

  • Spelling errors
  • Syntax/ Sentence structure
  • Punctuation
  • Laziness/Sloppiness
  • Format issues, missing words
  • Nil errors
  • Syntax/ sentence structure of quality writing
(5 / 5)
3. Characters:

  • Too many with some forgotten
  • Complexity/Roundness
  • Growth pattern
  • Speech pattern in keeping with character
  • Likeability/originality
  • There were the main characters and a few support characters, all well rounded by the end of novella.
  • Growth pattern was throughout the entire novella, this ensured believability to the characters.
  • All speech patterns were in keeping with the characters voice within the story.
  • Main Elven characters were portrayed with strengths and weaknesses. The antagonist was written as evil from the beginning but written well. Definitely dislike for this character.
(5 / 5)
4. Plot /Story line:

  • Crafting of plot/plots
  • Complexity
  • How do they converge
  • Humor/Tragedy was it real to reader
  • Ending
  • Multi layered plot crafted expertly and with elegance.
  • There was definite beginning, turning point and ending.
  • Main story line was complex enough to ensure depth.
  • All layers converged well weaving in out and around the protagonist.
  • Tragedy felt real to the reader.
(5 / 5)
5. Bigger Picture:

  • Reader involvement
  • Social/ethical dilemmas/morals
  • Order of story does it work
  • Did the reader enjoy it/Do you want to read more
  • Plagiarism
  • Very active within this story, except they could not hear me ‘yelling’ at them. Certainly not a passenger.
  • Social bias as with any large society that is governed by power and council. Moral dilemmas throughout the story ensured believability.
  • Works very well
(5 / 5)

Overall Rating

  1. Star Poor
  2. Stars Needs a lot of rework to make it better
  3. Stars Good but has some problem areas
  4. Stars Really good just couple problems
  5. Stars Excellent
Perception: (5 / 5)
Grammar: (5 / 5)
Characters: (5 / 5)
Plot: (5 / 5)
Big Picture: (5 / 5)
Average: (5 / 5)
(5 / 5)

1,880 total views, 0 views today

Genre: fantasy, fantasy adventure
Series: The Alterra Histories |