Saturday, October 13, 2018

Mitchell Hogan

When he was eleven, Mitchell Hogan received The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and a love of fantasy novels was born. He spent the next ten years reading, rolling dice, and playing computer games, with some school and university thrown in. Along the way he accumulated numerous bookcases’ worth of fantasy and sci-fi novels and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon. For ten years he put off his dream of writing; then he quit his job and wrote A Crucible of Souls. He now writes full-time and is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown self-published author. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Angela, and his daughters, Isabelle and Charlotte.

Hogan's new novel is Shadow of the Exile.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Hogan's reply:
I'm currently reading Blackwing by Ed McDonald and very much enjoying it. It is grim though, and may not be to everyone's taste.

Major player motivations (the Deep Kings and the 'wizards', both with seemingly god-like powers) are generally unknown (apart from survival), and the protagonist is surprisingly likable for someone who has many unlikable traits. The story is quite dark and gritty, which some readers might be weary of by now, but I haven't read too many 'grimdark' novels so I don’t have grimdark-fatigue (which is a thing, apparently). The protagonist is Ryhalt Galharrow, who is definitely not a hero. He is a bounty hunter attempting to find a noblewoman, and his mission entails entering the 'Misery', a wasteland created by a great sorcery and filled with monsters. The Misery was created as a barrier to help keep the Deep Kings -- immortal sorcerers -- at bay, who are also afraid of the 'Engine' which is a destructive countermeasure to the Deep Kings and their armies of monsters. Events quickly escalate and spiral out of control, and Ryhalt must do his best as human civilization faces utter destruction. The author manages to add small details which provide a lot of backstory details and raise questions -- without spoiling the story, such as when the protagonist and his two companions encounter ghosts for the first time in the Misery.

I don't have a lot of reading time, so these days I'm very picky and abandon books if they're not hitting all the right notes for me. But with Blackwing I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the story.
Visit Mitchell Hogan's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Crucible of Souls.

--Marshal Zeringue