Those who know me know that I'm a reader. I read more books than Michael Moore eats donuts. I'm always reading. It's gotten better, or worse depending on your point of view, since I got an ebook reader. With the ability to carry entire libraries around with me I almost never stop reading. In my search for new authors to get into I recently discovered a guy by the name of Andy Remic. I got sucked into his Clockwork Vampire series and then started his Combat K series that I picked up one of at the local bookstore. While looking for more of his work in ebook, of which there only appear to be two so far, I happened upon another author who got me completely hooked. to the point that I managed to read everything of his that I could find in the space of two weeks. This includes a couple of short story collections, a stand alone novel titled A Dance of Cloaks, and a five book series that goes by the moniker of The Half-Orcs.
His name....is David Dalglish
. His name....is David Dalglish. Almost feels like a scene from Fight Club there.
Anyway, for anyone that's looking for a solid series that's about the characters and not just the latest wanna-be Tolkien then check this guy out. I'm going to warn you up front that this is not Shannara. This is not Middle-Earth. This is definitely not Harry freakin Potter. A good portion of The Half-Orcs is dark and brutal. It was bad enough that after a particularly rough scene I had to put the book down and walk away for a few minutes. That's how angry I was at what had just happened. But, and this shows the power of the work and the characters, I came back. I not only came back to finish that second book in the series, but over the next three days I finished the rest of the series because I HAD to find out where these characters where going and what was going to happen to them and their lives. The only comparable situations for me in recent history both happened in the movie Serenity where Joss Whedon, blessed be his name but cursed be his name, killed off two of my favorite characters in Shepherd Book and Wash. From a logical standpoint I understand that pain and loss have to be part of any character in order for them to be someone we can relate to and feel for. That doesn't mean I have to like seeing them go through it.
Another very, very cool thing about this author is his response to fans. I finished the second book, The Cost of Betrayal, this past Sunday. I emailed him shortly after I completed it and started off by letting him know how displeased I was with how his characters were being treated. I then thanked him for writing the books, let him know that I loved the characters and that I was looking forward to what was going to happen next. Within fifteen minutes I had a response....and not a generic form letter response either. If he gives permission I'll post his responses in their entirety later. Yes, I said responses. This author actually carried on an email conversation with some random joe who contacted him out of the blue. How many published authors would take the time to respond to one email, let alone several? That alone pretty much guaranteed him a fan for life as far as I'm concerned.
Here's to a long career writing fantastic stories filled with amazing characters and all the triumphs.....and tragedy they encounter in their journeys.
UPDATE: Below are the emails from the author. And I just finished his sequel to Dance of Cloaks called A Dance of Blades. Great read. So go pick it up and keep this guy writing. I have spoken, that settles it.
But...but...but I -like- Joss Whedon :-)
And your email doesn't sound angry in the slightest. It sounds invested, which is beyond flattering, trust me. Let's see...I underestimated Kayla's popularity (you're far from the first to be pissed about her dying). Kinda wish I'd kept her around now. As for Aullienna, that sucked writing it. Beyond miserable. But her death echoes throughout the entire series. It never goes away. I needed that final separation, a death that was no one's fault and everyone's fault. I've had readers stop the series at her death, and at times, I can't blame them.
The next book for you, Death of Promises, is probably the weakest of all of them. And when you finish book four, I might have to hide from you. But I promise, promise, that the series has a wonderful, happy, satisfying ending. Just in case you start wondering if I've lost my mind as you continue the series, and thinks continue to look bleaker and bleaker. *grin*
Thanks so much for the email, and more so for the compliments!
Feel free to become a fan at www.facebook.com/thehalforcs or swing by my website at ddalglish.com
--- On Sun, 2/6/11, Mindwyrm <email@example.com> wrote:
Subject: Half orcs
Date: Sunday, February 6, 2011, 11:55 AM
Okay, I just finished the second book in the series. I've got the
entire series and am looking forward to the rest of the story. I've
also read A Land of Ash and A Dance of Cloaks. I have two things to
say regarding your stories.
First, thank you for doing stories where the characters come to life
and matter to the readers. It's rare for me to find a set of
characters that I actually care about and want to see find some
semblance of happiness. Even Qurrah. That being said, can u stop
acting like Joss Whedon and killing people off? I read A Dance of
Cloaks first and was so pissed off when Kayla was killed. And then
when Aullienna was killed I had to put the book down for a few minutes
and come back later. In all honesty I understand why characters have
to go through that kind of pain. So I don't expect you to change and
really don't want you to alter your writing. It's just frustrating to
grow to love these people on the page and then see them broken like
All in all, keep up the good work. I know my email reads as if I'm
angry and don't enjoy your stories. Nothing could be further from the
truth. It's because I'm enjoying your stories so much that I got so
emotionally involved. That's the kind of writer I look for. Thats the
kind of author that will see me buying their books and trying to
convert other readers as well. I look forward to many years of your