By: Christopher Russell
Publisher: Divinity’s Twilight Fantasy Novels, 2021
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Content Warning: Fantasy violence, mild gore, slavery, racism, death of children, genocide, chronic illness
In his a 58-page novella, Gravitas, Christopher Russell, packs in all the ingredients for an epic, grim dark fantasy. There is character development, a unique magic system, well-developed characters, and it’s dark and brutal. This is an amazing accomplishment to achieve in a novella.
I am more than impressed with Mr. Russell’s writing. The story is beautifully constructed over a one-month period. In this time, the main protagonist, the Fixer Scraw, is given free rein to save his country, Lestadt from the revolutionaries. He intends to accomplish this by building the towering Angel of Lestadt, a large monument filled with as much Gravitas from Lestadt as he can.
The magic system is amazingly crafted and Gravitas is one of the most unique forms of magic I have read. It is magic stored in all things of Lestadt– art, historical artifacts, laws, and even the people. Scraw has the ability to draw upon Gravitas and he is ruthless in how he wields it. This brings me to the character development of Scraw himself. He is downright evil. There is no moral gray area with him, no moral ambiguity. He will build his monument and save Lestadt, no matter what or who the cost is. Scraw reminds me of characters I have read in many of Joe Abercrombie’s books. To fully develop Scraw in short novella is nothing short of genius.
“An acceptable loss, Scraw thought, examining the lines of dangling thralls. Children were not only useless for hard labor, but their history was shallow as well.” – Christopher Russell, Gravitas
The world building is just as good. The battle scenes, yes battles are in this novella, are action packed and well written. The rebel ships are made of metal, to which Lestadt cannot counter. Mr. Russell draws the reader right into the action of the page turning naval battle between Lestadt and the revolutionaries.
Gravitas is an excellent epic and grim dark fantasy novella. Mr. Russell’s prose hits hard and sharp, keeping the reader engrossed throughout the story. There are twists and turns, magic, world building and character development packed into a well-paced and well written novella. I highly recommend Gravitas and hope to read more about A Tale of Costella.
History has weight behind it. The power to crush an empire . . . or birth it anew.
Nowhere is this more true than the Republic of Lestadt, an island nation founded upon the bones of tyrants and sustained by the might of Gravitas. This magic is the manifestation of the past, drawing upon the heritage of relics and heirlooms to bend the forces of nature. The more storied an artifact, the more power it commands.
Yet after 300 years of prosperity, Lestadt is crumbling. Revolutionaries gather in the docklands, seeking restitution for the crimes of the ruling oligarchs. A mysterious augury pronounces the nation’s doom.
My thanks to Christopher Russell for a copy of Gravitas.
My thanks to Storytellers on Tour for a copy of the eBook of Gravitas.
Learn more about Christopher Russell and his books on his website at https://www.christopherrussellauthor.com/