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Furies of Calderon
Jim Butcher
Read by Kate Reading
Penguin Audio, 20 Hours

Furies of Calderon
Jim Butcher
A martial arts enthusiast whose resume includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago, Jim Butcher turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He lives with his wife, his son and a ferocious guard dog.

The Jim Butcher Fan Attic
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Small Favor
SF Site Review: Captain's Fury
SF Site Review: White Night
SF Site Review: Proven Guilty
SF Site Review: Dead Beat
SF Site Review: Blood Rites
SF Site Interview: Jim Butcher
SF Site Review: Death Masks
SF Site Review: Grave Peril
SF Site Review: Fool Moon
SF Site Review: Storm Front

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

Jim Butcher has created a wonderful new world of fantasy in the series known as Codex Alera. This first book in the series introduces all the main characters and the creatures and events that make Alera a great world in which any reader can get lost.

The narrator, Kate Reading, delivers the punch, when needed, in this epic adventure, vocalizing the perfect tone for the broad range of emotions in the tale. Her voice easily reveals characters' sense of loss or hope and, when the situation requires it, she can drum up plenty of excitement for all of the battle scenes. Butcher may have written all the words to describe the various scenes and settings that make this an exciting read, but it's her delivery that allows the audiobook listener to become completely immersed in the land of Alera.

The people of Alera have special abilities called fury-crafting. The Alerans have tamed the furies to assist them in their every day jobs. The furies represent the main elements; earth, metal, wood, fire, water and air. The earth furies manipulate earth and stone and allow earth fury-crafters to gain more strength and be great hunters/trackers. The metal crafters make superior swordsmen. The wood crafters manipulate plants and trees great for making camouflage and increasing accuracy of arrows. The fire crafters not only manipulate fire but can also use the fire furies to manipulate human emotion. The water crafters tame the waters to communicate over long distance, heal others, keep a youthful appearance and detect emotions. The air crafters have the ability of flight and increased speed and agility as well as the ability to bend air to listen or see long distances.

All of these powers make the Alerans masters of their domain. The land is governed by Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, but Gaius is getting older and, after the death of his son, lacks an heir. As a result, a war to determine who will become First Lord seems imminent. In the Calderon Valley, there lives a "disabled" boy by the name of Tavi. Tavi lives on Bernardholt with his uncle Bernard, an earth and wood crafter, and his aunt Isana, a water crafter. The reason Tavi is disabled is that he lacks any fury crafting skills, and this does not happen in Alera. To compensate for this deficiency, Tavi has learned to use his intelligence to get out of difficult situations instead of relying on furies.

Furies of Calderon is the first book in the Codex Alera series. Currently, there are six books in the series, where Tolkienesque adventures in Alera are unleashed. Tavi has lost his flock of sheep and he and his uncle go out to find them. Instead of sheep, they find that the Murat (a violent and dangerous race of humanoids that have tribal affiliations with certain animals in the realm) are invading the Calderon Valley. After a near fatal encounter, Bernard is wounded and in danger of dying, but Tavi stays to mislead the Murat warriors so that Bernard can be taken to safety. At the same time, a strong Fury Storm erupts in the valley and Tavi has to seek shelter to escape both the Murat attack and the furies in the storm. As he's running for shelter, he finds a runaway slave girl, Amara (who is actually a spy sent from Gaius to find what is happening in the Calderon Valley) and risks his life to help her.

At this same time, three mercenaries find their way to Bernardholt seeking shelter from the storm. The three are looking for Amara to keep her from warning the steadholders of the coming war, which they intend to start so Gaius looks weak and House Aquitaine can take the throne. Amara plans to take Tavi to warn the Count ruling Calderon, as Tavi is the one who has seen the Murat. But plans don't always go as expected and, as the separate parties go on their own adventures to stop a war in Alera, excitement abounds. If the first book is any indication, this is proving to be a great fantasy series. Be prepared for a fun read that will have you running through an emotional gamut.

Copyright © 2008 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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