Editorial Review: Ragnekai Winds by Peter Buckmaster
Ragnekai Winds by Peter Buckmaster is a complex tale of intrigue and conspiracy layered with betrayal and unstoppable ambition to reclaim lost lands and stolen power.
In the fine tradition of fantasy, this is the first book in a series—The Old Wounds Trilogy—set in a classic medieval world, Urami. From the opening scene, where a gravely ill king lies abed, it is clear that this is a realm about to be torn apart after suspicious death and the subsequent power vacuum.
The cast of characters is extensive – but don’t get too attached to anyone as they may well come to an untimely end (it’s OK, no spoilers ahead). As the first book in the series, this has the feel of grand planning for what is to come whereby the death of a character will provide deep-seated motivation for those impacted by the tragic event.
By the end of Ragnekai Winds, the reader has been blown around the kingdom by ever stormier gales traversing ancient forests, high mountains, humble villages, and fortified towns with brutal battles. Buckmaster provides well-chosen detail to paint imaginable backdrops against which his characters play out their parts—some pulling the strings and others being dragged unwillingly to their final fate.
The book wraps up with the final unmasking of the king’s murderer—with the introduction of a whole new layer of a far more ancient conspiracy to unfold as the series progresses.
Ragnekai Winds is a full-length novel but consists of only ten chapters spanning fourteen days in the lives of a large cast of characters. Buckmaster has chosen to jump back and forth across those fourteen days to maximize suspense rather than linear clarity. While the author may not have needed to invest as much time in developing characters that the reader is only just becoming interested in when their demise unfolds; the pace of the tale picks up as the story progresses.
This is a well-written solid debut novel that provides an excellent foundation for Buckmaster to draw readers into the world of Urami and become engaged in the lives of his characters as the roles of hero and villain become clear. With the remaining books in the trilogy already available, those who enjoy classic fantasy can settle in to enjoy Buckmaster’s Ragnekai epic as one long, satisfying feast.