Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton, Drakenfeld #1

“I am Lucan Drakenfeld, second son of Calludian, Officer of the Sun Chamber and peace keeper. Although sometimes it seems I am the only person who wishes to keep it …”

The monarchies of the Royal Vispasian Union have been bound together for two hundred years by laws maintained and enforced by the powerful Sun Chamber. As a result, nations have flourished but corruption, deprivation and murder will always find a way to thrive.

Receiving news of his father’s death Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld is recalled home to the ancient city of Tryum and rapidly embroiled in a mystifying case. The King’s sister has been found brutally murdered – her beaten and bloody body discovered in a locked temple. With rumours of dark spirits and political assassination, Drakenfeld has his work cut out for him trying to separate superstition from certainty. His determination to find the killer quickly makes him a target as the underworld gangs of Tryum focus on this new threat to their power.

Embarking on the biggest and most complex investigation of his career, Drakenfeld soon realises the evidence is leading him towards a motive that could ultimately bring darkness to the whole continent. The fate of the nations is in his hands.

Drakenfeld is the latest book by Mark Charan Newton, his earlier series Legends of the Red Sun was well received and I am still looking forward to take plunge into this series when I get the chance. Mark Charan Newton has worked for several book publishers before and currently works for a big game company creating narrative background for video games. When I read the blurb of Drakenfeld it reminded me of a series that I took to liking a few months back D.B. Jackson's Thieftaker Chronicles. Drakenfeld is a pseudo-classical crime-thriller story, inspired by Roman times. Now this all got my quite excited in reading Drakenfeld and the with the crime idea behind this book, Mark Charan Newton proves that crime investigation doesn't necessarily need to take place in the present, but that the past proves to be just as good or actually even better!

In Drakenfeld you follow Lucan Drakenfeld, an Officer of the Sun Chamber, an independent organization that keeps the peace between the united nations of Vispasia. In the beginning of the book Lucan serves his job in Venyn City but is soon called back to the city of Tryum for a new task. Well actually two. The sister of the King is murdered and his father has died. This is really the start of Lucan story and he is thrown in the deep waters in his investigation. Lucan is accompanied his female companion, Leana, a warrior from Atrewene. This is pretty much their relation, pure business. But it seems that there could be more between them (not hinting to strongly to the romantic side), their a well suited duo. I enjoyed reading about Lucan's part of the story. He lives in the shadows of his father, Calludian, who was a renowned investigator of the Sun Chamber and has raised the bar for Lucan to live up to. This part haunts Lucan and it feels that he is dragging this pressure everywhere he goes and is further played upon by the royalty he meets, the twist here is that Lucan uncovers several things about his father's past that does change the image of this once great investigator. Another part that was good to read about and gave a clear grip on the storyline was the narration done by Lucan, as he is investigating the crimes, he recounts several events to himself that give a much better picture of how it might have gone down, creating hypotheses and rejecting them on the go as he uncovers new things. This gave a pretty cool twist to the crime aspect of this story. Lucan is not your Sherlock Holmes but he is quick witted and armed with a sharp mind and mouth.  

Leana, though she isn't the sole focus point of the story, does help take the story that much further. She is Lucan's companion and bodyguard, Leana is quick with her sword and someone you want to have watching you back. Her discussion with Lucan add a lot of new things to the story and she helps to let Lucan think things through and come up with new idea's of who might have carried out the crimes, this somewhat challenging of Lucan was shown in a nice way. But going back to her own character, she is cool and through her you see a lot of action, though it might seem a bit anticlimactic with her skill, the action is there and it shows a nice display of sword fighting. 

The story itself is cleverly put together and as a reader you are challenged by a lot of possibilities of who might be the bad guy behind it all. Mark Charan Newton has a great way of leading the reader on the wrong track of things, you can make assumptions but once you find out the actual plot, you will likely abandon all things that you thought about several characters. It was great to be led onto that many trails in the story and really inspired the classic crime investigation. You can expect betrayals, assassinations and some other interesting twists in the plot. And like I mentioned the final plot twist of the story left me a bit gaping and the resolving of it all was done just like it was in the ancient times. Quite dark and trying to keep your name as clear as possible. I know this mind sound a bit cryptic but I don't want to spoil to much. 

Now where this book does turn interesting is with the mentioning of the supernatural all throughout the story, visiting presumed witches and the mentioning of magic. Though the story doesn't feature any flashy scenes of elemental magic or other types thereof, it did hold me in it's own spell, with the whole setting that was created you could just never know when something or what might happen. There was one scenes with something supernatural but whether this was really or something of an hallucination I don't know and I think I am just perplexed as Lucan himself. 

The ending of the plot of Drakenfeld is most interesting. I think Lucan has just been drawn and drafted into a much larger plot than he has imagined. His first task was just solving crimes but now that they have been solved the actions of how they were solved seem to be just the beginning of a possible avalanche (I am speculating here) but I think a lot of other things might just have been set into motion by Lucan's actions... and I want to know what his brother Marius is all about, his brief mentionings and references and interactions with their father in the story show that there might be much more to this than we have learned so far...

Drakenfeld is a fresh new addition in the ever growing fantasy genre and with taking crime investigation a couple of years back Mark Charan Newton has done a amazing job. The story talks by itself and is written in a clear and highly addictive way. Mark Charan Newton writes in a simple way and now I don't want you to get the idea that the story is simple, more on the contrary, there are some interesting turns of events in Drakenfeld but the story itself is written in a approachable way that lends itself easily to get addicted to. This clear and easy writing will make this book appeal to a broad audience, from the dark gritty crime lovers to fans of an easy afternoon read. Accompanying this is a great set of characters and mainly the main protagonist Lucan, is shown in a way that you just know this isn't the last we have seen from him. His introduction to and in the series just screams for further exploration. The world that was created within these pages is rich and though it has a lot of idea's in common to the ancient Roman times, it does have a very unique and interesting twist to it. I will make sure to keep an eye out on further developments of this series, it's off to a great start and it turned out to be much more than I anticipated. Add this book to your must read list.

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