In The Eye of Heaven by David Keck
|The first thing one will notice upon picking up In the Eye of Heaven by Canadian newcomer David Keck, is the cover art and design. It features a haunting painting by David Grove and a very attractive design by Jane Adele Regina, which combine to create as attractive a cover as you will find this side of Kinuko Y. Craft's covers for Patricia McKillip's novels.|
I mention this because it was so very striking, and also because it is the last positive thing I have to say about the book.
Clumsy does not begin to describe the prose; at times I thought I was reading a self-published novel from the likes of Clifford Bowyer. We're dumped into the story of Durand, a soon to be knighted squire and second son of a local baron, as he is travelling home to retrieve a change of clothes of all things. For whatever reason, the squires knight is accompanying him on this trivial errand, and is rewarded for it by his squire's beligerent atitude and outright disrespect. (Which he does not punish, of course)
Durand, as a second son and not set to inherit anything from his father, is due instead to inherit the village of a local knight whose heir died at sea. This missing heir quickly turns up after 15 years guarding caravans, seemingly just down the road, and so Durand is out his expected inheritence. He promptly throws a temper tantrum and storms off to be a hedge knight, but only after climbing down his father's castle's well and talking to God's brother and being told that no matter what, prophecy says he'll end up happy and rich with a beautiful wife.
Yeah, way to keep us in suspense.
Often times it was very hard to understand exactly what was taking place in the novel. Keck obviously has a vision he wants to share, but hasn't the foggiest on how to paint a scene. The dialogue is unbelievable, and the characters are paper thin. Just about every premise is hard to believe -- even for a fantasy novel -- and there are no positives in the novel to make up for this. Keck was obviously influenced by Gene Wolfe's The Wizard Knight, but this novel is a failing ember next to Wolfe's sun.
Avoid this book at all costs. This is just about as bad as fantasy can possibly get.
This will be remaindered heavily, and the reduced price for the remaindered copies will be far more than the book is worth. Avoid.