Morlac - The Quest of the Green Magician is a high fantasy tale along the lines of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian. The story centers around Morlac, a warrior created from dark sorcery of the sea. He is conjured by an evil wizard named Sordros (The Green Magician) as the guard captain and defender of his coastal village. Morlac is a fusion between a former human and a sea turtle. While this sounds rather odd, it works quite well with the story. Morlac carries a magicked blood-drinking sword named Shark and uses the turtle shell that once was on his back as a shield. He has other unique travelling companions such as Broct (a name combination of brave and octopus), a large 6 armed man and fellow magical transmutant. Broct has multiple limbs like the octopus he was fused with and carries a ring that can emit an inky cloud of darkness, all of which is fitting considering his human/octopus fusion. Morlac's other companions are three females Kadrana (Sordros' daughter, also a human/sea serpent fusion), Glendauna a female dervish warrior cursed with lycanthropy and finally Rila a fiery red haired rogue. Each of the characters embark on various quests together at different points in the book all of which are extremely entertaining to read. The majority of the story focuses on Morlac's quest for his own identity as well as finding Sordros for further answers. Here are my thoughts;
+ Great cast of well balanced main characters. Each one was unique in their own way and were easy to visualize throughout their adventures in the book. Honestly the only characters in the book I didn't care for were the Southern jungle natives at the very end. However, they occupied such a small portion of the story it didn't really change my opinion of the book.
+ Book consists of 3 individual stories each of which are extremely well written, cleverly told and filled with everything a high fantasy reader would expect and enjoy. Everything from swords, sorcery, demons and other magical creatures, items and locations.
+ Each chapter is titled detailing exactly what it's about, are not overly long and very easy to follow.
+ Engaging story that makes you feel the plight of what each of the characters are facing.
+ Numerous and well described action sequences.
+ Beautiful old school 80's style Boris Vallejo-esque cover art.
Cons (Are rather minor and may contain some <SPOILERS>!)
- Ending seemed a little bit rushed and ended too abruptly.
- Story moved from point A to point B too fast at times. A bit more time could have been spent on the journeys between locations.
- Some villains were defeated way too easily and quickly. The tension of the fights could have been built up a lot more.
- Rila T'Faen's character arrived way too late in the story. The perfect place for an introduction would have been in the city of wizards where a thief was petrified and placed as decoration in the demon temple, which later the rest of the party had to later infiltrate. They could have rescued Rila from her stony prison making her even more enamored with Broct. Just my 2 cents of course.
- Map (a very close replica of Europe and Northern Africa) could have been a little bit more creative considering the originality of the story.
I have to admit, Morlac - The Quest of the Green Magician was one of the best fantasy books I've read in years. Not since Robert E. Vardeman's "War of the Powers and Swords of Raemylln" series have I come across a high fantasy story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would definitely recommend the book to anyone fond of stories about Conan, Tiana (War of the Wizards), Sonja, Kull, Gath of Baal (Deathdealer series) or any number of Forgotten Realms novels. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up the book but I was incredibly pleased by the end. I am however disappointed that there's no follow up title. Gary, if you read this please give us a sequel!