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Reviewed by Stefan Vucak for Readers' Favorite
In Earth’s distant past, gods created man. Some saw the daughters of men and came unto them. They lived with man and performed mighty deeds. Angered, the other gods made war and the survivors departed Earth ... but a few remained.
A merchant ship owner of what is today Brazil is attacked by a mysterious black ship. He survives the attack, but his ship is destroyed. Adair, the local Governor and General of the city’s army, tries to find the attacker, as the people behind it might be a threat to the Orudan Empire. At sea, his boat is sunk by the black ship, and he is taken to an island. Escaping, he stumbles into a cavern where he steps on a polished stone dais ... and disappears.
The caretaker Lemus becomes the Governor, and takes possession of Adair’s belongings - including his wife. Because the Empire did nothing to find her husband, Maeryn begins to work with the Resistance, whose aim is to overthrow the Empire and free the slaves on whose labors the Empire is built. Fearing a future challenge, Lemus arranges for her son Kael to be killed, but he and nine other boys are rescued by Ukiru, who takes them far away to be trained as warrior priests in the service of the All Powerful, a god of old who would return and rule over the earth. A young man now, Kael and the other trainees are taken to the island of the High Temple and into the presence of the All Powerful. Sensing evil and not a benevolent god, Kael flees the island and makes his way to the mainland. Keeping his identity a secret, he helps ward off an attack on Bastul, his old home, but the city is destroyed. The survivors make their way to Leoran where Kael further develops his mental powers and fighting skills. In the Empire’s capital Orud, the Emperor summons all province Generals to organize the nation against attack by neighboring barbarians. The Emperor is assassinated and Leoran’s General, Magnus, is declared the new Emperor. But Magnus is the High Priest of the All Powerful and instigator of attacks on the Empire. His sole aim is to bring back the All Powerful. In a final encounter, Kael confronts the resurrected All Powerful and slays him.
The Awakened is a book with soaring scope that pits an evil god against men, mixing magic, combat, deception and treachery in a vista that spans time. Kael’s development from boyhood into a powerful warrior endowed with growing mental faculties that enable him to defeat the All Powerful, keeps the work potent. Jason Tesar weaves an ambitious tale that grips the imagination. In many respects the work is overly ambitious, incorporating numerous distracting scenes, which at the end, leaves the book with important plot strands unresolved.
Jason Tesar is definitely an author with a vivid imagination and technical mastery to make his writing vibrant. For those who like a dash of fantasy while sipping coffee, The Awakened should make for an entertaining read.