A TRULY UNEXPECTED AND PLEASANT SURPRISE AWAITS.
Discover the hidden gem that is, Quicksilver Rising, the underrated first book of an unappreciated trilogy.
(Quicksilver Trilogy, Book 1)
Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback, 410 Pages
Date: 5th April 2004 (First Published 2003)
After reading a book as good as Quicksilver Rising, one cannot help but wonder why it has failed to garner much in terms of popularity and acclaim over the years. It could be argued that High Fantasy is such a saturated genre that it is difficult for any novel to stand out. A better explanation in this instance, is the fact that the plot of Quicksilver Rising cannot be sufficiently summed up by a brief tag-line or back cover blurb.
So what should prospective readers who take the plunge anticipate from the first book of the Quicksilver Trilogy? Well, readers can expect multiple, interconnected storylines from the viewpoint of multiple characters. In a world in which magic is a taken for granted, everyday reality; where a person’s status within society determines the strength of magic they are able to wield; where those skilled in the Craft must be licensed to practice magic or face being hunted down and killed by the authorities; where the island state of Bhealfa remains caught between the two rival empires of Rintarah, to the east, and Gath Tampoor—the current colonial master—to the west.
It’s against this backdrop that Stan Nicholls introduces a diverse ensemble of characters; individuals whose journeys are inextricably linked:
Reeth Caldason, a wandering, lone warrior from an oppressed and persecuted ethnic minority, in search of a cure to a personal condition he deems to be a curse. He doesn’t age, he seemingly cannot be killed, he is plagued by disturbing visions, and he is prone to lapsing into deadly berserker rages.
Serrah Ardacris, a bereaved mother, soldier, and captain within Gath Tampoor’s feared CIS (Council of Internal Security). Her faith in—and loyalty to—the empire is shaken by the betrayal of her superiors who make her the scapegoat after a disobedient officer under her command gets himself killed during a routine operation against drug traffickers.
In addition, there is Kutch Pirathon, the young apprentice of a murdered sorcerer, and possessor of a very rare magical skill that very few practitioners of the Craft ever develop; Dulian Karr, a dissident politician within Bhealfa’s puppet administration; Tanalvah Lahn, a prostitute from Rintarah, forced to go on the run with the two young children of her murdered best friend; and Kinsel Rukanis the renowned operatic singer with pacifist sympathies.
Due to varying circumstances, and with various motivations, this disparate group with little to nothing in common, are brought together by fate and become involved with the transnational resistance movement that operates across both empires. The goal of the resistance is to locate an uninhabited territory in which to establish a new and independent state, free from both Gath Tampoor and Rintarah.
From start to finish Quicksilver Rising is a fast moving fantasy tale of political machinations, and personal quests for a better life, vengeance, or simply something to live for. The narrative always remains coherent throughout the novel in spite of the potential pitfalls inherent in having several storylines running. While some plots and characters are given more prominence than others, each character with their respective storylines are intriguing enough in their own right to eliminate the temptation to skip past certain scenes, just to get to others as quickly as possible.
As the first instalment of a trilogy, Quicksilver Rising predictably does not resolve any of its main storylines; and due to the fast pace of the narrative some plot elements are not dealt with in depth and certain non-essential background details—which would have been nice to know nonetheless—are not revealed. For instance, the source of the prejudice faced by the Qalochian ethnic group that both Reeth and Tanalvah belong to, is never really explained.
There is one other potentially vital plot element that is only briefly touched upon, that presumably will be elaborated on in subsequent books. This plot element revolves around the barbarian lands to the north of the empires, where mysterious warlord, Zerreiss—known to his people as The Man Who Fell From The Sun—is enjoying unprecedented success in conquering the northern wastelands.
These issues don’t detract from the book however, as Quicksilver Rising’s many mysteries act as an incentive to read the rest of the trilogy, to discover what really lies behind those things that have not been fully revealed.
Quicksilver Rising has all the ingredients necessary for a must read high fantasy yarn: tortured, complex protagonists; ruthless villains; high- stake political intrigues; clandestine activities; heroic endeavours; and copious amounts of magic and mystery. If these are constituents that you enjoy in a novel, add Quicksilver Rising to your to read list today; you won’t regret it.
Telling it like it is. Giving you honest and balanced, spoiler free reviews. Completely devoid of irrational fanboyism, or shameless astroturfing.