The Tale of Telsharu – Review
The Tale of Telsharu is a mystical journey through a land filled with larger than life characters and vivid imagery. It is a magnificent opening to a promising series by new authors, Valerie Mechling and Samuel Stubbs.
We open in darkness and pain. The prisoner, blind, with a sword through his heart has been held for countless years. Until the day Telsharu takes control of his guards will and escapes, slaughtering his keepers and tearing asunder the Empires dire prison. An engaging beginning for, what appears to be, a classic tale of good vs. evil.
The Seventh Empire is ruled by a corrupt and tyrannical Emperor, and is plagued by the rebel group Sunga Tobai. Led by Long Xansul, the third son of a noble family, the rebels interrupt trade, and terrorize the noble families, the Yu-Gaochi. Then the day comes when Telsharu escapes the Emperors prison. Telsharu the cursed, a monster out of legend, imprisoned for a century. The Nameless wandering sword master Daryun, with his mysterious past, sees the escape of Telsharu in a vision, and leaves his home, and wife to pursue him.
In the Emperors house is the kind and gentle ShianMai, daughter of the Emperors fourth wife. A student until the day she is accosted by a rebel in the inner garden, on the imperial island. After which she begins her mission to root out traitors amongst the Yu-Gaochi; her naïve loyalty to her father guiding her.
With Telsharu in the Imperial City, attempting to assassinate the corrupt Emperor, and the rebel group running amok, the city is rife with fear and suspicion. Daryun attempts to stop Telsharu, and save an empire on the brink of destruction.
I found this story hard to get into initially, with a myriad of unfamiliar names, nouns, and honorifics to work out. However, after a few chapters, and several references to the appendices in the back of the book, I became thoroughly engrossed. The characters were engaging, layered with their strengths and faults, giving distinct personality, often surprising. Descriptions were colorful, bringing images to my mind’s eye of the places and people I was reading about. Most of all I like the emotion the tale evoked. Hope in the Darkness.
This is a story I would recommend to fantasy readers. I find myself waiting impatiently for the next book to be published to see where Valerie Mechling and Samuel Stubbs take this vivid landscape they have created.