Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Approximate word count: 80,000-85,000 words
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Brian Rush lives on the West Coast. He’s a lifelong lover of fantasy. The Green Stone Tower is one of five fantasy novels he’s published.
A tale of two worlds, one supporting a human society, Slavers, positioned (at least in this reader’s mind) in pseudo-Dickensian times, the other a land of magic and faerie-folk. Once, both peoples co-existed. But the Dark God forced a societal change. So, instead of living in harmony with nature and surviving from what the magically enhanced land gave, the people enslaved crops and animals, forced their will on the natural resources and outlawed magic.
In this new regime, magical folk are persecuted as witches. To save their People, the faerie gods build Green Stone Towers, obelisks in which those with magical powers could open a door and pass into a new world where they could continue to live a magical existence.
The story follows Johnny Silverbell, half-faerie, half-slaver. When he loses everything in the human world, the door to a green tower opens to him and he finds his true destiny.
The opening third of the book deals with the slavers and specifically with Johnny who practices magic in secret to avoid being accused, tried, and sentenced to death as a witch. I found the writing in this segment excellent. I was immersed in the world, and the cadence of the prose seemed a perfect fit with the rigid and narrow-minded slaver society. Johnny was a compelling character, and the manner in which he is introduced to his faerie heritage kept me interested and rooting for him.
Once the story moved to the faerie world I found my attention slipping on occasions. Some of the dialogue, particularly between the gods, didn’t seem to capture the essence of these all-powerful creatures, at least not as well as the prose fitted the slaver world. But the faerie characters were interesting enough to keep me engaged, and the world-building consistently clever and believable.
The Green Stone Tower is the first book in a planned series. Brian Rush’s worlds, characters, and overall premise certainly has sufficient depth to carry a series. Overall, this is a good read. Fantasy fans will not be disappointed if they spring a couple of dollars for a copy, and I suspect they’ll be waiting anxiously for the second installment.
Rating: **** Four stars