Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Empire of One (Volume One of the Wandering Invader Series) by Thaine Chase takes the reader on a journey through the mists of time, principally in ancient Ireland, via the eyes of a man who has lived thousands of years in a myriad of identities. Even though he is finally beginning to age, he still holds the key to saving the world from destruction. This man of many names has led kingdoms, seen civilizations rise and fall, and even been instrumental in the destruction of some of them. Enchanted with ancient magic that gives him immortality and incredible self-healing powers, it has been his blessing and his curse to live through the eons of humanity’s existence, witnessing the tragedies and follies of humanity’s excesses. Even now, with his slowly aging body beginning to fail him and his recuperative powers slipping away, he will face the biggest fight of his long and illustrious life. He must find a way to defeat the impending invasion of earth by an alien race intent on the colonization of the planet and the total annihilation of humanity. He understands that the only chance he will have lies back in the mists of time, somewhere in his beloved Ireland.
Empire of One is an exciting introduction to what promises to be a series full of mystery, magic, and the downright weird and wonderful. Author Thaine Chase has done an extraordinary job of weaving a labyrinth of mysteries and folklore into a story that spans almost the entire history of mankind. He has created a world populated by monsters and magical creatures that thrill and excite a reader while at the same time provides a stern task for the main character to confront and ultimately defeat. What I particularly enjoyed about this character was that he had seen the highs and lows of a person’s existence. During the tale, we see the main character as a king and a mighty warrior but also as a lowly servant and a slave. The deep introspection of his failures, in all aspects of his life, allows the reader to identify and empathize with him and his journey. The whole idea of eternal life being both a curse and a blessing was well structured and brought out by the author’s skill. The pace of the story is frenetic and the battle scenes frequent and violent. For action junkies, there is plenty here to give a needed fix but there is more depth to this tale than just a mere action, fantasy novel. Much thought has gone into the character’s personal makeup and his inherent humanity that at times pushes him to make selfish and stupid decisions but at other times allows him the full range of courageous action – he may be immortal but he is still quintessentially human. I really enjoyed this tale and can highly recommend it. Bring on Book 2 in the series.