Dream of Fire

by Nicholas C. Prata

  General / Favorable Reviews
  Critical Reviews

Action-packed, intellectually challenging dark fantasy *****

Nicholas C. Prata's Dream of Fire makes for an intellectually challenging but very rewarding work of dark fantasy. I had a little trouble developing a real connection with the novel early on because of numerous references to completely alien terms and expressions; fortunately, Prata provides a glossary at the end of the book that defines such important and much-used terms as stalenzka, chiampugula, and landesknecta. He also provides several appendices summarizing military tactics and the histories of the cultures featured in the story. It is an extraordinary effort on the part of the author to define this world of his imagination in extremely realistic terms. At times, I felt as if I must have missed history class the day we covered these cultures, as Prata certainly writes about them as if they were as real as the ancient historical peoples of earth.

The centerpiece of the story is Kerebos Ikar, leader of the Black Legion and unquestionably the most feared man on the world of Pangaea. Untold men, women, and children have been brutalized and slain by this man over the years, but Kerebos is not the simple monster of a man he appears to be. Each night finds him screaming in the throes of awful nightmares, and each day finds him pursuing the destruction of the entire world - starting with himself, for Kerebos is haunted by the fact that he murdered his own father.

Kerebos' opposite in virtually every way is Antiphon al-Caliph, a timid priest of the Order of the White Flame who is sent to bring the fierce warrior, seemingly hell's own minion, back to the holy city of Kwan Aharon. Sacred prophecy points to Kerebos as the man who will bring salvation and deliver the faithful over to the kingdom while the world sinks into apocalyptic oblivion. The relationship that develops between Antiphon and Kerebos is complex and fascinating. Kerebos thinks his sin is too great to be forgiven by God or man, and the philosophical depths to which he plunges in self-contemplation are both moving and very instructive to the reader.

While the depth and meaning of this novel take precedence over all else, there is plenty of heart-stopping, bloody action to go around as Kerebos the torturer and human monster transforms into God's fiery final prophet. Prata possesses impressive understanding of ancient military tactics, and this makes the engagements and armed clashes he describes verily ring with the clash of swords; not only can you envision the carnage of the battlefield, you can almost smell the blood and entrails that mark the landscape.

Dream of Fire thus succeeds admirably on two levels. The vividly-described action sequences will appeal to those who yearn for excitement and wonderfully realistic battle scenes, while the deeper lessons of Kerebos' unique story will leave most readers pondering the philosophical and allegorical meaning of it all long after turning the last page. Few novels offer such a unique and powerful study of the nature of evil and the capacity for good in even the worst of men. 

Daniel Jolley

(from Rambles.net



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Instant Gratification *****

All too often, one picks up a book that tends to crowd the mind. Mr. Prata's Dream of Fire is NOT one of these books. Intense, intelligent, graphic, and cunning are just a few words I have used when talking about Dream. I too found it extremely difficult to put down. Though not an easy read for some, it excites the mind. I found the imagery dark and mysterious.

Major kudos to Mr. Prata's use of Military strategy! It is obvious he spent many years enlightening himself on battlefield tactics. If your looking for a read to make you laugh, read Kant. If you want something to just kick back and admire, please read Dream of Fire. You will not be disappointed.


(from amazon.com)



Powerful epic fanstasy *****

On Pangaea, following the accidental death of his father at his hands, Kerebos Ikar joins a horde of killers. Over time, he works his way up the ladder until Kerebos becomes leader of the infamous Black Legion. Kerebos directs his brood by example, killing and plundering with no one safe from his warriors and no opposing army willing to fight this murderous unbeatable force. Perhaps Kerebos' only weakness is his recurring nightmare of dying in fire, but that only provides him with further impetus to destroy anyone in his path.
In Kwan Aharon, the Order of the White Flame recognizes Kerebos as the last great prophet. They send out a priest Antiphon al-Caliph to convert the killing machine onto the side of good. However, Antiphon has doubts regardless of the prophecy as he expects to not only fail but to die at the hands of the one he must convert.

Though much of the support cast seems stereotyped, DREAM OF FIRE is a powerful epic fantasy that sweeps the reader along with its exciting story line and two fabulous lead characters. Redeeming Kerebos seems almost like converting Hitler, yet the audience will see that he possesses some positive traits, but like the priest doubt he is an ANGEL IN IRON. The doubting Antiphon is sort of like Moses feeling he is too inadequate to do the task which in this case is converting a murdering maniac into the prophet. Strangely, the battle scenes that are vividly described and action-packed pale next to the hook that keeps the audience wanting to finish this work in one sitting. Will Kerebos redeem himself as the prophet or kill Antiphon?

Harriet Klausner

(from amazon.com)





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