I loved this story about a people coming into their own. The Rhunes live in the late Stone Age. The Fhrey, a medieval people who remind me of elves in other stories, have drawn up pacts with them dividing up available territory. The pacts grant the technologically and magically advanced Fhrey the richest soil.
This division is why the trouble started. Clan Dureya got a raw deal. They didn’t have enough wood for fires and hunger was a way for life. They subsisted by fighting other Rhunes for the Fhrey. One day, a man and his son ventured into the lush lands forbidden them by the pacts. They did not trespass lightly for they thought they were in the land of the gods. The average Fhrey lifespan is around 3,000 years whereas the Rhunes live as long as normal men. The Rhunes had never seen Fhrey die and thought them immortal. Crossing into Fhrey terrain took great courage.
It was also fatal. Shegon, a Fhrey, spotted the two, killed the father and was about to slay Raithe (the son) when his slave hit him over the head with a rock. Raithe then ran Shegon through. And suddenly the Fhrey were gods no more. That encounter was how the clash between the Fhrey and Rhunes started. I fight between two peoples who, despite their differences, have common ancestors. These common origins are evident in their cultures. They select their leaders in similar ways, defer to how things were done in the past, revere trees, and have similar magic.
There are other similarities. Both societies are dealing with instability. Among the Fhrey, a schism is growing between the magic-wielders and the rest; between those on the “frontier” and those living in the capital. A schism that led some Fhrey to semi-ally themselves with some Rhunes. For their part, the Rhunes are divided into the Rhulyn clans to the south and the Gula clans to the north. The two factions have been at war for almost as long as anyone can remember.
And then there is the world where all this unfolds. Elan is old. The Fhrey speak of a terrible war with the Dherg fought long ago. Rhunes find remnants of that that time and rediscover techniques of old. Techniques they put to use fighting the Fhrey.
The Age of Myth is an engrossing novel. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
Product Description: Age of Myth: Book One of The Legends of the First Empire by Michael J. Sullivan