Wreckers Gate intrigued me with its cover and blurb. General Wulf Rome is too successful, too charismatic, too uncouth for his king and the nobles. The king sends him on a should-be suicide mission that ended up with Rome and his friend Quyloc finding a strange ax in the desert that enables Rome to usurp the throne. The ax somehow links to the imprisoned god Melekath and when Rome takes the ax it allows Melekath’s primary servants to escape and prepare for Melekath’s eventual full release.
Wreckers Gate reminded me of David Eddings’ multi-volume works. Way back in the distant past goddess Xochitl imprisoned Melekath. Xochitl’s primary servant Lowellin comes to Rome and Quyloc to warn them of the upcoming apocalyptic battle, and tells Quyloc to visit the frightening other world Pente Akka for a weapon that will battle Melekath. Lowellin also visits the Tenders, the now-disgraced sisterhood who served goddess Xochitl until they allowed themselves to be corrupted.
The plot is similar to Eddings’ and other authors’, with the humans fighting for one god against another and with deep-seated evil rolling over the lands. I am not an Eddings fan but his best books grab my interest and I care about the characters. I was able to stay aloof from the characters and events in Wreckers Gate; it was interesting and I was moderately curious, but ultimately it remained only story, it did not feel personal.
Wreckers Gate is author Eric T. Knight’s first novel and it is pretty good considering. He creates an interesting back story that may come out more in the sequels. We can feel the underlying tension between the nobility and their new ruler Rome, among the Tenders, between Quyloc and Lowellin. There are hints that there is more to the Xochitl-Melkath story that will come out in sequels.
Knight is at his best describing the settings. The city had smells and noise; the desert had wind and scorching heat and bitter cold; the Tenders’ home was shabby and poor.
The overall writing quality was good. The story was clear even when switching among viewpoints and Knight sketches in the back story without spending undue time rehashing the forgotten past. Pacing was pretty good although I thought it bogged down a bit when we were with the Tenders.
First in a Series
Wreckers Gate is the first in a series of five books. With long series like this we always have the problem of losing continuity, forgetting what happened in earlier books, or the writer himself may take some odd shortcuts. All five books are out now available on Amazon as a boxed set here.
Also the story is pretty easy to follow because it has one main theme: Melkath is escaping. We need to remember who is on whose side, but there are not that many individual characters who play large roles so it’s easy to keep track. I put the novel down several times to read other books that were more compelling and never had a problem picking back up or remembering who is who.
If you like epic fantasy and don’t mind long book series you will likely enjoy Wreckers Gate. It’s well-written with reasonably interesting back story, plot and characters.
That said, I’m not sure I want to read 5 books in this series (I don’t much like epic fantasy series). I will read the second book and see whether it’s compelling enough to continue.