Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Fifth Unmasking #1
Publisher: The Hive (November 25, 2017)
Length: 350 pages
A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.
Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?
Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal death of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a warrior woman named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.
Powerful enemies want the secret as well, including a dynasty of magician-kings who were thought to have died out long ago, a mad, murderous hunchback and a beautiful, deadly woman who is never seen. Sunniva and Dayraven fight to survive and to solve the mystery while their own pasts come back to life and the attraction between them deepens.
Special Guest Review of The Hidden Face!
Today’s post is written by Astolf, high priest of Axo. Here is his first meeting Dayraven, the main character of The Hidden Face:
Dayraven waited for the next swing and then charged. His first punch took Astolf in the guts and the next somewhere on that skinny face. Astolf swung the elephant stick again and Dayraven wrenched it out of his hands and swung it at Astolf’s chest. He felt the metal bite and Astolf screamed and fell back, a red line breaking through his clothes across the chest. Dayraven threw away the stick and followed up, hitting again.
‘Get him!’ Astolf shouted through his bloodied mouth.
Dayraven looked around, but none of Astolf’s gang had moved. Dayraven hit him again and he lay back. The brown earth was stained with blood.
Dayraven raised his fist again. ‘What was my father?’
Astolf glared back and tried to swing a punch, but Dayraven blocked it.
‘That’s not the answer. I’m going to ask you once more, then next time you won’t be able to answer, I promise you.’
‘A cow -’ Astolf’s eyes flicked to the fist and then turned away. ‘A hero.’
Dayraven. Always Dayraven. This book has an obsession with Dayraven, my old enemy. From the very first pages, the author focuses mostly on his return to Faustia and his adventures there, rather than on my strategies.
The bias in favour of Dayraven is evident in the above description of our first meeting and combat when we were boys. My challenge to him – when I was armed and backed by a group of followers, while Dayraven was alone and unarmed – is presented as cowardly bullying, rather than what it really was: clever tactical use of advantage to establish ascendancy over a rival. My unlucky defeat in that first fight is shown as a victory for Dayraven, rather than a betrayal by my followers, who stood and watched and then even sided with my opponent from then on.
Similarly, the death in the past of Dayraven’s father – the so-called hero – is made out to be the result of treachery on the part of my father, rather than what it really was: the astute elimination of a rival.
This entire book stinks of such misrepresentations. I am shown as a pawn manipulated by more powerful figures, rather than the manipulator that I really was, or thought I was. My position as high priest is shown as a cynical ploy for power, but who would not do the same if they could?
I have no doubt that the book ends with my final triumph, but I was unable to finish it.
AUTHOR INFO: S. C. Flynn was born in a small town in South West Western Australia. He has lived in Europe for a long time; first the United Kingdom, then Italy and currently Ireland, the home of his ancestors. He still speaks English with an Australian accent, and fluent Italian.
He reads everything, revises his writing obsessively and plays jazz. His wife Claudia shares his passions and always encourages him.
S. C. Flynn has written for as long as he can remember and has worked seriously towards becoming a writer for many years.
The Hidden Face is his second novel and the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.
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