For thirteen years, Nevia has wandered and searched, trading much of his life away for a desire, for a dream. He has been searching for the old man, sometimes known as the Godking. Mentioned only in folklore and legends, this individual is said to have the ability to change a man's fate. Through this search, Nevia has lived at best like a wanderer and at worst like a homeless vagrant. Recently, he has found himself staying in a new town and gravitating toward a barmaid called Linne. He's begun to wonder if he might be happy with her. But it's at this turning point where he would give up his search for Linne that he finally meets the mysterious old man and everything changes...
Legends of Rhine: The Godking by James Calderon is a fantasy novella, but at times it reads much more than that. In addition to a fantasy world of daggers and inns, there is the fiery hope and despair of Nevia's narration and the darkness of the dealings with the old man. Taken out of context of fantasy, this is a story more like something out of Stephen King's repertoire, a tale about men and their choices, the cruel manipulations of darkness, and the undeniable consequences of all choices. Even if you are not usually a fantasy fan, there's a story worth reading here.
Though it is worth your time, Legends of Rhine: The Godking is not without flaws. The first is the formatting. Paragraph indentations are not consistent - sometimes there are a few spaces, sometimes a few more, sometimes half the line, sometimes not at all. In a few cases this appears to be for emphasis, but in many others it seems to serve no purpose and is distraction. Luckily, this does not impede your ability to read the story in any way and I expect will be fixed in a future edition.
My second criticism is the best kind: I wanted more of Nevia's story. The conflict of Nevia is told in confession and dreams. Sometimes these flashbacks start in the middle of action and don't explain much of the intervening time since the last point in the story. The dreams and confessions are interlaced through the story of a scholar J.T. and a young boy who have connections with Nevia. Though significant, these sections aren't as fascinating as Nevia's story and I wanted them to go quicker so I could get back to Nevia. I would love to have seen the Nevia story expanded with more details, more of his narrative.
To conclude, Legends of Rhine: The Godking is a worthwhile read despite minor issues. Nevia's narrative is strong and the story provocative. There is darkness behind the scenes which is intriguing and the mysterious villain is never oversold, remaining mysterious down until the last page. I recommend Legend of Rhine: The Godking for anyone looking for a quick read about the question of choice and the lure of darkness.
Legends of Rhine: The Godking on Amazon
James Calderon's Author Page