In Hollow Road three companions discovered the monsters of legend were all too real…
Rumors among the Maer tell of an underground library called the Archive, which houses a wealth of knowledge and terrible magics that could be used to start the biggest war seen since the Great Betrayal. A mixed group of humans and Maer set off on an historic quest to find the Archive and protect it from those who would use it to destroy everything they hold dear. As the cold of winter bears down upon them, they trek through forbidding mountains beset by dangers they could have never imagined. They follow a set of ancient clues deep into the Silver Hills, forging surprising alliances and making new enemies.
The humans and Maer are linked by more than their quest to find the Archive and stop an insidious war. A mystical surrogacy may bridge the gap between two peoples, and many hearts entwine as their adventure hurtles toward its bloody conclusion.
I read The Archive on the Kindle.
The Archive is the sequel to Hollow Road and the second book in the The Maer Cycle. The story continues with the three human friends we met in Hollow Road now living happily amongst the Maer they got to know at the end of the previous book. Finn is training with one of their magic users, Stouck, Sinnie is teaching Grisol to be an archer, and Carl is living with Ujenn who he was falling in love with at the end of the previous book. Language is being learnt by everyone with the young boy, Dulin as the main teacher.
The main story arc this time is a quest to find The Archive, a long lost library containing the entire history, culture and magic of the Maer. The location of The Archive has been long hidden and clues to its whereabouts spread out among the different tribes of the Maer. The worldbuilding in The Archive continues to be excellent.
The various tribes of the Maer, the Old Maer, the Wild/Free Maer, the Deer Maer and the Dragon Maer (yes there be dragons in this book!) were reminiscent of the different Native American tribes with their differing languages, weapons of choice and ways of decorating their bodies and clothing. The Dragon Maer decorate their clothing with colored feathers and the first Maer encountered by Carl, Finn and Sinnie had patterns on their clothing made from fish scales. The underlying message of this book is one of tolerance, both racial and sexual. The Maer come to the conclusion that the tribes are all fairly similar to one another and that they should not make judgements until they know each other. The humans who take the time to get to know the Maer grow to respect and love them as if they were humans. Many different forms of sexuality are explored among the Maer and everyone is extremely tolerant. One of the characters is non binary, which some of the other characters find confusing. All of this is described delicately, if somewhat graphically by the author.
The story this time is told much more from the perspective of the Maer with the point of view occasionally changing to Finn, Sinnie and much less frequently to Carl. In this way we learn more of the back story of the Maer and their culture.
The quest ends up amongst the Dragon Maer tribe and here they discover that the Shoza, a band of assassins and mages are coming to try to take over the Archive.
…bearing down on them like thunderclouds sweeping across a plain.
This episode is fraught with tension. The Shoza want to take over the archive in hopes of finding a document inside, which will teach them how to control the ka-lar, the scary Barrow Lords encountered in the previous book, and set them against the humans in a war. The resulting battle to defend The Archive is both exciting and tragic. You may find you need to wipe away a tear or two at this point.
The final book in this trilogy is out now and I look forward to reading it!
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About the Author
Dan Fitzgerald is a fantasy writer living in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When he is not writing, he might be gardening, doing yoga, cooking, or listening to French music.
He writes fantasy in part because the state of the world demands an escape, but also because fantasy provides another lens through which to view what we are living now. Part mirror, part magnifying glass, part prism.
He is fascinated by hidden and forgotten places, be they in the backyard or in the mountains of an imagined world.