An avid reader of fantasy novels, from Tolkien's "The Hobbit," to the Shannara series by Terry Brooks and more, Dean Matthews has always been drawn to these larger than life epics portraying plucky adventurers who find themselves in the middle of a clash between the forces of light and darkness. Now it is his turn to add to the canon of high fantasy with his novel, "The Dark Taal," that follows the adventures of a young boy tasked with destroying magical stones that are sought by a dark wizard who longs to harness their immense power for his evil aims.
Millennia ago, the gods sought to bring balance and harmony to the realm of Aymara after it was ravaged by war. So they made the Firebrand Stone born of darkness and the Chimera Stone born of light. These were openly accessible to the many races of Aymara. But over time, greed grew among the peoples of Aymara, and after the Chimera Stone was lost and forgotten, the Firebrand Stone's darkness grew unchecked and corrupted the land, resulting in the return of war. Thus came a mage named Pellagrin and his followers who shattered the Firebrand Stone into four pieces, casting them away and hiding them from the power-hungry. Just so, for the dark wizard, Kuelack seeks the shards to harness their power and gain dominion over all of Aymara's lands.
The story follows young Aridain, who is born at a time when the threat of war looms over the land. He is tasked to seek and destroy the stones in order to free the land from their corrupting influence. But the gods who made the stones have other plans. Now a dark champion has been created, tasked with restoring the stones to their former horrible glory, and eliminating young Aridain in the process.
Matthews' novel will transport readers to another world, a fantastic one with magic and gods, monsters and mages, a mystical setting that highlights universal lessons - namely the potential of light to shine brighter when all seems lost to the darkness. Shades of Tolkien and Le Guin, "The Dark Taal" taps into universal values and struggles, imparting upon readers a message of hope, inspiration, and a sense of awe.
About the Author
Dean Matthews was born in 1961 in Oxford, England, and has been an avid reader of fantasy novels and a writer since his youth. He has recently pursued writing and publishing his novels. His other interests include history, geography, self-sufficiency, and the environment.