Reviewed by:S. Marie Vernon, Pacific Book Review
Mortus - Book I of the Faenum Quest the adventure begins is a unique epic fantasy with high and dark fantasy elements. Author Dennis K. Hausker is realistic about the flawed and dark nature of society and allows this to come through in some of the characters he creates. But where great evil is found great good and virtue are also found. In this story Dave Cray and his comrades represent s this good. Dave is the hero who undertakes a hero’s journey, but he is only following his intuition and has no idea he is now on a life-long quest that will culminate into an ultimate battle between good and evil.
Dave lived on Earth until his mother died. Soon after an unknown uncle visited and convinced him to travel to the planet of Faenum. Once there Dave feels overwhelmed, unprepared, and without skills to help him face the many challenges and dangers he finds in this dark and evil environment. Amazingly, he overcomes each and every trial. No one is more astounded than Dave at his ability to do this. He realizes magical powers are assisting him and his powers are getting stronger day by day. His father had once been a great wizard and lived on Faenum in the land of Mortus. Dave sets out to find Mortus and gathers a band of unlikely comrades who feel compelled to journey to Mortus with him. None of them understands why they feel compelled to journey with Dave, they only know they must!
When Dave first landed on Faenum he all but crashed into Jenna’s camp. She’s the missing prima virga of the Warlen tribe. Jenna has fled her kingdom because Ragar fought for her hand and won. He is evil beyond belief and she will not marry him. Jenna and Dave start traveling together and soon meet Selane the white witch who has left her sisterhood. A giant mountain troll insists on protecting Selane and will not leave her side. Then there is Lissette, a supreme warrior elf, and her nemesis, Angus the Dwarf; a funny pair they are. And, Graile is the master bladesman who teaches Dave how to fight. They become a family and even adopt a deathcat as their pet. The deathcat is a fearsome animal part cat and part bear. With his powers Dave tames the deathcat to obey his every command. “Bear,” lets Jenna pet him like a kitten only to become ferocious again should an enemy approach the group.
Soon Dave falls in love with Jenna and wants to marry her. It’s forbidden since he is not a Warlen. He’s disappointed and often frustrated not knowing what to do about any of his problems. His powers keep growing until he supersedes his father as the most powerful wizard in the land of Mortus. He becomes a chieftain and a leader among the people although he does not really want the title. Everyone can see that Dave is a worthy hero- everyone except Dave that is. Often he is apprehensive about his life and what he should do next, but much to his amazement he is revered and loved by all. He gains the confidence of Jenna and her parents. He marries Jenna and is very happy, but the fate of the group remains unknown. They travel to the imperial capital city and meet the evil emperor and his wife. Along the way, they meet many other characters. It’s difficult to tell who is good and who is evil. Where will they journey next? Will they overcome the evil that hunts them, the evil that is lurking there someplace just out of sight, just ahead, or just around the bend?
In Mortus – Book I of this trilogy author Dennis K. Hausker has created compelling characters you come to love and wish for them a safe journey home. They meet dark and villainous characters that set the stage for an archetypical and confrontational battle between good and evil that will ultimately take place in this imaginary universe. Mortus is an epic fiction written in third-person narrative. It’s a hero’s journey complete with magic, swords, and sorcery. These are elements that will speak to the imagination of a broad audience of readers. It’s a “must read” for those who enjoy epic, high and dark fantasy. Also those who want to escape for the weekend without leaving the house would enjoy this enchanted saga and find it easy to follow the odyssey straight into the second and third books of the trilogy The Gathering Storm - Book II of the Faenum Quest Series and The Faenum War – Book III.