Dead walk the Royal Mile in blistering new Edinburgh-inspired fantasy tipped to be new Game of Thrones - Liam Rudden
I’M just back from the ravaged, war-torn world of Eidyn, a not so far off land where the dead walk the Royal Mile and a select few mage-like beings share unique magical powers, mostly for the good of all - but not always.
With comparisons already being made to new Netflix series The Witcher and Game of Thrones, local author Justin Lee-Anderson has created a multi-layered universe in which he colours his other-world with aspects of the real world in a blistering tale packed with action and adventure.
The Lost War: Eidyn Book One is a novel Edinburgh fans of fantasy have every reason to be excited about. The first in a trilogy, The Lost War is a gripping road-trip laced with a dark humour and more than a few nods and winks to Scotland’s Capital, from the recycling of the city’s more historic pubs names, to clever reworkings of the Capital’s suburbs. Can you guess which areas the towns of Eidyn are based on? Crostorfyn, Dail Ruigh and Seafelde are easy, but how about Lestalric or Mournside?
The book tells the story of elemental mage Aranok, the king’s envoy, as he leads his eclectic band of strangers across the desolated country. Tasked with restoring an exiled queen to her throne, the group are constantly side-tracked as they discover all is not as they believed. As bodies drop around them and lies are revealed, Aranok has to bring them together to uncover the conspiracy at the heart of the kingdom. Along the way, the story twists and veers unexpectedly.
Aware of how easy it would be to drop a spoiler into the mix here, no more about the narrative other than to second the suggestion of one reader of the book when I hosted its Edinburgh Launch at Blackwell’s Bookshop on South Bridge recently, that a pub crawl around the establishments named in the book would be a fun way for fans to get together - the Sheep Heid Inn, White Hart Inn and Canny Man’s being just three of the hostelries mentioned.
Edinburgh’s history and mythology also provide inspiration for Anderson’s story, adding meat to the gristle and allowing the author to create a fully-formed world peopled by well rounded, three dimensional characters from the get go. There’s our hero Aranok, his archer bodyguard Allandria, the bumptious soldier Glorbad, Nirea the Pirate Queen, Vastin the blacksmith waif, Meristan the monk and Samily, the religious White Thorn Knight - together they make an unlikely King’s Council, yet each is instantly believable.
Never really a fan of the fantasy genre, The Lost War proved my exception to the rule. It’s a book to be savoured one chapter at a time, a read to make last, allowing as much time in Anderson’s absorbing world as possible.
He describes The Lost War as ‘A love letter to Edinburgh’s dark and twisted past’ - it is that, and so much more.
The Lost War - Eidyn: Book One by Justin Lee Anderson is published by King Lot Publishing, price £11.20 via Amazon