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Bewildering Stories

William P. Haynes, The Shaman and the Rose

reviewed by Susie Hawes

Author: William P. Haynes
Publisher: Outskirts Press
(December 2007)
Paperback: 424 pages
ISBN-10: 1432716727
ISBN-13: 978-1432716721
The Shaman and the Rose, by William P. Haynes, is the third story featuring the characters introduced in Mephisto’s Seed. This dark fantasy has elements of heroic adventure, romance, mythology, strong religious overtones, and characters seeking redemption. The passion and danger are real. The author makes his readers feel these emotions.

Tight plotting keeps this crowded story on track, and strong character development keeps the reader glued to the book. The protagonists in this novel are passionate and good-hearted. We care about what happens to these people. The antagonists are thoroughly evil and manipulative. The author’s use of drama and character interactions makes us want them to fail.

Angels and gods rub shoulders with demons and humans, and even the great deceiver, Satan, has his part. As the characters battle vampires and demons they evolve into warriors seeking to protect their world from the evil that encroaches on it.

Satan has been freed from his prison and seeks to initiate Armageddon. A handful of humans work with a god; a fallen angel; a Native American shaman, Orenda; an elfin wizard and a werewolf to put a stop to his plans. Themes of redemption thread throughout the tale; the humans seek a fallen sister while the angel, Semjaza, seeks atonement and redemption. He suffers a crisis of faith and must overcome it to help his comrades.

Elliot, the main antagonist in Mephisto’s Seed, seeks to be united with Sara, his love. He acts with ruthless disregard for the lives of those around him, attacking any he feels will interfere with his goal. Satan wants to capture the magical sword, Rutilus, and use it to destroy the world, and the heroes must stop him.

Part of the action takes place in the contemporary world, and part in mystic realms, and, eventually, in Hell itself. Mr. Haynes has built beautiful landscapes and terrible ones, with bloody seas, a ship of bones,. His worlds are filled with ruby-eyed demons and winged stallions.

Elliott gathers an army of demons, vampires, hellbeasts and dark creatures, seeking to bring about Armageddon, but the shaman stops him with a spell that creates a tornado. As his troops are destroyed, Elliott flees.

I think my favorite part was when one of the characters used a modern, non-magical weapon to take out a dragon.

There are sacrifices, and the hardships and dangers one would expect from a story like this. However, the sacrifices are handled with intelligence, avoiding the trap of becoming cliché. Dialog is sharp, internal logic is consistent, settings and action are colorful an the characters interact well with one another and grow from their experiences.

This is a very well-written book, and one I would recommend. William P Haynes has grown as an author. Be sure to read the first two novels, to get the full story. It’s quite an experience.

Title: The Curse of Mephisto’s Seed:
Book One: The Day of the Awakening

By: William P. Haynes
Pages: 192 pages
Publisher: Publish America
ISBN: 1413728650
Mephisto's Secret cover

Copyright © 2008 by Susie Hawes

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