Nameless, a slave-born pukah has fate stacked against him. He was born to fight, trained to win, conditioned to survive in the Arena. He wins his way to freedom, then fate begins to wreak havoc in his life. Struggling to learn how to survive as a free man, he finds himself taking on a personal war against the culture that created him. In this dark fantastical world of bloody gladiatorial combat, personal gain at all costs, and rulership by the most cunning, Nameless must find a way to honor his dedication to his goddess, honor his oaths to himself, and find a way to survive long enough to discover who he really is.
I’m not sure where to begin with this review. The book was quite unlike anything I’ve read in recent years. After the first few pages, I came to realise there wasn’t going to be dialogue interaction anytime soon, but rather than getting irritated by the rather telling style of writing, I found I was too engaged with the story to put it down. Told in the third person, the sample of Out of the darkness covers the birth of an unnamed child, his early years and a brief introduction into his gladiator styled training.
The narrator, for the sample at least, limits what is seen to the eyes of the child. The upbringing is harsh; without parents, guidance or comfort, the child must learn about the world around him through his own experiences. Some are painful lessons, some are less so, but the child does learn – his survival depends on it. View Spoiler »Taken from his locked cell, and with a limited understanding of language, he suddenly finds himself training among other children, and the cost of failure is really quite brutal. « Hide Spoiler
Considering the style of the narrative, and the sole focus on the child, the writing is very engaging. Information is given only as the child discovers it, and can be likened to a series of subtle hooks, each reeling the unsuspecting reader deeper into the story.
It wasn’t until coming to the end of the sample that I came to realise just how committed I was to the story. I went on to purchase the full book.