By: Derrick Smythe
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Derrick Smythe
To Wield a Plague is a wonderful companion novella to Derrick Smyth’s Passage to Dawn Series. It focuses on the character Dwapek, who we meet as one of the instructors at the University in Brinkwell in The Other Magic and The Other Way. He is a mysterious man, always popping in and out when you least expect him. I always loved Dwapek’s character, and this is his backstory from when he was a young boy on the verge of becoming a man, and the events that follow. Learning more about Dwapek certainly made me understand who he is and what drives. His experiences as a young man were difficult, but as we see him as an adult, he overcame them. While they shaped Dwapek’s character, his struggles never held him back and he never seemed resentful. Dwapek is not human, and in fact, their tribe and others of their kind, rarely interact or see humans.
He grew up in a tribe and his father, Aldrek, was the Sachem, or leader. Aldrek was not kind to Dwapek, and criticizes the slightest things he does. He desperately wasnts his approval, which drives him to do his best to excel at everything. No matter how hard he tries, Aldrek barely acknowledges Dwapek except to chastise him. He was not a likeable character, but he was very well written. We are not supposed to like him and his treatment of his son. His mother, Geothelis, is kind and supportive.
“His father’s hesitation was further evidence to Dwapek of Aldrek’s disdain. Intentional or not, the barb stung.” Derrick Smythe, To Wield a Plague
On his way to the trial to become a man, they come across a village where all are dead, seemingly from some type of disease. It is a mystery as to what has killed them, and remains so. He passes his test, which his father grudgingly approves of, but never says he is proud of him. The rest of the trial is a hunt, and to do it, they must cross an area called The Veld. The unbreakable rule is never to speak in the Veld. However, Dwapek’s mother is in danger, and he makes the decision to warn her and save her life. For this, Dwapek is banished from his tribe.
“A fissure opened within Dwapek’s heart. He had brothers and sisters…I can’t condemn them to a life without their mother. I can’t.” Derrick Smythe, To Wield a Plague
I felt so badly for Dwapek. He knew what would happen, but he also knows he would do it again to save his mother. He is still young and he faces many difficulties. What ensues is Dwapek’s journey to leave the land he once called home and head to the land of men. It is his only choice as he can never return to his people.
When we meet Dwapek in The Other Magic and The Other Way, he is a teacher at the University. He was my favorite of the teachers. The past difficulties he had did not turn him into a resentful, miserable person. Quite the contrary, he is wise, kind and teaches students how to think critically. Dwapek’s lessons go beyond just teaching facts. He is a mysterious character in these books, as he disappears and comes back when he is needed. Where he goes and what he does is still a mystery. However, knowing his backstory explains how he came to be the man he is.
I loved this novella. It is told in the third person from Dwapek’s perspective. It was fast-paced and action packed. It is a story of sorrow, survival, and eventual success for Dwapek as he learns to manage on his own. It helps the reader to understand the mysterious adult Dwapek more as we learn about how and where he grew up. I highly recommend To Wield a Plague, and The Passage to Dawn series.
Summary (from Goodreads)
Forced to choose between his mother’s life and his own exile, Dwapek embarks upon a journey wrought with trials no ordinary Renzik could hope to survive. Relics of legend, plagues of old, and monsters of unthinkable dread all collide in this epic fantasy adventure as a weapon capable of destroying an entire people is set to be unleashed.
My thanks to Derrick Smythe for proving me with an eBook for an honest review