Seven Forges is a tantalizing fantasy. The tale begins with one, Captain Merros Dulver, leading a small group of adventurers toward a range of unexplored mountains called the Seven Forges. The country the group must transverse is a frozen wasteland, wind blasted, and devoid of life; facts that have made it an impenetrable barrier for anyone from the Empire of Fellein - which controls the majority of the known world - to have ever reached these legendary peaks, let alone, explore them. But, naturally, someone offered Merros a lot of money to come out of his well earned military retirement to do just that, so here he is freezing his butt off and wishing he was anywhere except where he is.
Naturally, things are not what they seem, and the uninhabited barrens are not quite so uninhabited. Soon, Captain Merros finds himself confronted not only by horrible beasts but also by an unknown race of people. A race which seems friendly and inviting, but which also obviously has far more secrets that they hide than that they reveal. And even as the good captain finds himself becoming a very rich and very famous explorer, he wonders if this mingling of the Sa’ba Taalor people with his own is a historic event or a horrible mistake.
There are many things one could talk about with Seven Forges but the star of the show is the land of the Seven Forges and its people, the Sa’ba Taalor. For that initial desolate environment where Captain Merros’ journey of discovery begins is very symbolic of where Mr. Moore intends to take you. The mighty tundra is the border between two different worlds in more than just a physical way, for as a explorer transverses the post-apocalyptic wasteland he finds himself also abandoning the norms of ordinary humanity. The world of the Sa’ba Taalor is a unique land unto itself, where - cut off from the rest of human civilization - these people have evolved along a much different evolutionary track, gaining unique idiosyncracies in both their physiology and societal makeup; changes which makes them just as unhuman as any intelligent alien who might descend from the heavens. And soon, one finds themselves eager to see more of these wonderful people, learn more about their differences, and hear more of their history. Indeed, they steal the show.
But like all novels, there were problems with this tale, and the main one was simple the Sa’ba Taalor themselves.
How can I rave about how interesting these guys are but then say they are the main problem in the book?
Simply put, the Sa’ba Taalor are so interesting they overwhelm all the other elements of the story. Once they appear, the rest of the story just seems to pale in comparison to their creative brilliance. Honestly, who cares about Captain Merros’ homeland the Fellein Empire or his Emperor Pathra and his devious counselor and sorcerer Desh when you could read some more about the Seven Forges and its mesmerizing people?
I didn’t unfortunately.
To summarize, Seven Forges was an okay book. The Sa’ba Taalor people themselves and their history was unique and compelling, but the normal humans and their empire fell flat. The characters outside of the Sa’ba Taalor were only mildly interesting, and until the last few chapters, the story dragged except when the Sa’ba Taalor were actually the focus. However, the novel was interesting enough that I will be returning to Mr. Moore’s world - if for no other reason than to visit with (Yeah, I’m going to say it one more time) the Sa’ba Taalor again.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank Netgalley for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.