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Chronicles of Silvercrest
by Bob Cravener
3 of 5 Stars
Bob Cravener’s Chronicles of Silvercrest is a great read for people who indulge the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons and similar games. From the authentic behaviors of the various races of elves, humans and zombie minions to the various fighting strategies and uses of magic spells, potions and weapons, Silvercrest will immerse the reader in a world that’s equal parts reality and fantasy.
As a man, only known as “The Traveller”, steps into Broken Keg Tanvern, the villages surrounding Weeping Pines are slowly besieged by the armies gathered together by a king who died 750 prior. King Deng is one of the most repugnant rulers the mountainous area known as Silvercrest has even seen – and that’s saying a lot! After The Traveller shared with Broken Keg Tavern’s bartender Eldridge Kragon over a much-needed mug of ale, Chronicles of Silvercrest unfolds through a diverse group of locales and their various inhabitants.
Eldridge is more than just a simple bartender, he is also known as the “mayor” and Broken Keg Tavern is designated as the “town hall” of Weeping Pines. After hearing of King Dench’s improbable return to Jade Castle, Eldridge assembles the leaders of the surrounding villages in order to alert them of a clear and present danger to the freedom of all who live in Silvercrest.
Cravener gives a rich historical back-story to flesh out this saga and keep the reader in the loop without bogging you down. The history of King Dench’s lineage reads like the Egyptian dynasties complete with personality traits and the effects one ruler had on future generations. The connection between various characters is well-constructed. Some characters have unexpected pasts that gives them a new significance as that retrospect is revealed. Other characters become connected in unexpected, yet plausible ways. This makes for an enjoyable read outside of the action and adventure that’s inherent in a fantasy such as Chronicles of Silvercrest.
Cravener approaches situations using an authenticity that is appropriate and sometimes startling. For instance, Dench “knocked” an arrow when he went to kill his father. To knock an arrow is authentic to the vocabulary used by archers. Cravener writes through deliberation and touches various senses. During a battle scene, someone gets stabbed in the throat. Cravener took that moment to highlight the sound of the cartilage being crushed and mutilated.
The only thing that held Chronicles of Silvercrest back is editing errors – mainly punctuation errors. Silvercrest is enchanting to the point where you feel you’re running with elves through the forest from a rabid pack of Nessian Warhounds with your sword ready at a moment’s notice. A misplaced comma or quotation mark will smack you back into your room, and that’s a problem. Silvercrest is not a long novel, so small crashes slow down its momentum tremendously.
All-in-all, Chronicles of Silvercrest is an enjoyable read. Although a fantasy, it’s not a fairy tale. Silvercrest has some very gruesome moments that will make you cringe and other moments that will make you nod in acknowledgement of the sheer wit of its author. When The Traveller comes from The Jar Mountains to Weeping Pines, he brings more than an interesting story about the undead King Deng retaking Jade Castle. He sets in motion the Chronicles of Silvercrest.