Ray Gun Reviews
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The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers

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The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
Pyr, 2010, 269pp.

Eva Forge is the last Paladin of the dead god Morgan in the city of Ash. Her god was killed by his god-brother Amon, who was in turn killed in a vengeance killing by the third brother, Alexander. Worship of the dead brothers has continued, even though their power has long since dwindled. But for Morgan, worshipers are now rare and almost extinct. Once Morgan had an army of Paladins, but now there is only Eva. And Eva has been tasked with escorting the Morganites’ leader, the Fratriarch Barnabas on a trip to the Library Desolate of the Amonites to collect an Amonite for an undisclosed reason.

On their way home, Eva and Barnabas are set upon by unidentified attackers and they both fight valiantly against stronger forces to protect their charges, Eva her Fratriarch, and Barnabas the Amonite given into his care. The battle ends prematurely, though, with the apparent capture of Barnabas and the disappearance of Cassandra, the Amonite.

Eva is left bewildered, wondering who the attackers could have been and what their motive could be. She teams up with Owen, one of the Healers of the Alexian cult and the two of them begin to unwind the reason behind the attack. But what they find reveals much more than either expected, unveiling a conspiracy that goes much much deeper, even as deep as the founding of Ash and the bestowing of godhood upon Alexander, Morgan, and Amon. Before all is done, Eva will have to decide where her faith lies and determine the exact cost of bringing down a god.

The story is a fascinating one that is generally well told. While he is not entirely clear, Akers seems to have set the story over the course of only a few days, with the opening scene of the attack upon Eva and Barnabas taking up the first quarter of the book. Like a Shakespearean play, the action is condensed and foreshortened into a tiny span of time. Akers deftly uses flashbacks and dialogue to reveal the complex history of the city of Ash without pausing the action or forward movement of the story. Akers creates the paradox of having written a relatively short book with a long story packed tightly into it.

I had a problem, though, with finding sympathy with the main character of Eva Forge. At the beginning of the story, she has a bad attitude that never grows beyond an immature petulance. By story’s end, Eva has had to make some difficult choices, but her character has not grown to become likable. Instead, the reader is left without much care for the protagonist, which is never a good thing in a book.

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