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James Clemens

James Clemens [Aka James Rollins] was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1961. With his three brothers and three sisters, he was raised in the Midwest and rural Canada. He attended the University of Missouri and graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1985. The lure of ocean, sun, and new horizons eventually drew him to the West Coast, where he established his veterinary practice in Sacramento, California, eventually settling for good in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He is the author of The Banned and the Banished series (The Wit’ch War Saga) and The Godslayer Chronicles

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Wit’ch Fire: Fortune favours the bold

Wit'ch Fire by James Clemens

Wit'ch Fire was a genuine impulse buy. I had read no reviews nor received recommendations — I was simply in the bookshop, liked the cover and plot synopsis on the reverse, and listened to my gut. Foolhardy, perhaps, but sometimes fortune favours the bold. This time, it did.

Wit'ch Fire is the first of a series of five books by James Clemens, also known to mystery and adventure fans as James Rollins and to others as the former veterinary surgeon Jim Czajkowski — his real name. The series — his first in fantasy — is called The Banned and the Banished, and is concerned with the adventures of a young girl, Elena Morinstal. But before I begin to talk about her, the prologue and its fictional foreword deserve a mention.

... Read More

Wit’ch Storm: Immensely enjoyed

Wit'ch Storm by James Clemens

As much as I enjoyed Wit'ch Fire, the first part of James Clemens' The Banned and the Banished, it has to be said that this is better.

Wit'ch Storm picks up the tale of Elena Morinstal shortly after where the last book left off. Once again, the prologue intimates that the reader is party to a text that has been banned for being dangerous and is clearly not true — a hook I have found effective every time Clemens has used it. I not only want to know what happens within the book itself, but I want to get to the end of the series to know (1) who is the writer we are told is a liar and (2) what happened to make the tale so dangerous?

At any rate, I was drawn in inside a few pages, and that is very difficult to do. The plot is, as before, fast and frenetic an... Read More

Shadowfall: Has its problems, but an engrossing read

Shadowfall by James Clemens

Shadowfall is the start of yet another fantasy series and much of it will sound familiar to fans of the genre. There is a military order of skilled knights with a secret sect, a pantheon of gods, not one but two special swords (not to mention a special dagger), lots of folks with hidden origins, a small band fighting against overwhelming odds, and a quest to undertake to save the world.

Despite the oh-so-familiar trappings, however, and despite some flaws of execution, Clemens injects enough originality into the work that it transcends the cliches and becomes an engrossing read. Shadowfall is set in the Nine Lands, lands kept in peace by gods who "settled," tying themselves to a particular area of land and allowing their "graces" (bodily fluids collected by human "Hands"— and yes, they collect all the fluids... Read More

Amazonia: A Haggardian adventure for the modern age

Amazonia by James Rollins (aka James Clemens)

A scientific expedition of thirty people enters the Amazon jungle and is never heard from again. One of the expedition’s members was Gerald Clark, a former special forces turned CIA agent after he lost an arm in combat. Four years after he disappeared with the expedition, Agent Clark stumbles into a remote mission — covered in markings, his tongue cut out — and then dies in a fit of convulsions. That’s not even the strangest part. When Agent Gerald Clark comes out of the jungle, he has two arms.

How’s that for a premise? If that’s not a spectacular story hook, then I don't know what would be. While not technically classified as fantasy, Amazonia does contain its fair share of monsters, magic, and lost worlds. It’s fantasy in nearly every way except marketing. Mos... Read More

Warriors: Diverse, entertaining, rewarding

Warriors edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

FORMAT/INFO: Warriors is 736 pages long divided over twenty short stories and an Introduction by George R.R. Martin. Each short story is preceded by biographical information about the author and a short description of their contribution to the anthology. March 16, 2010 marks the North American Hardcover publication of Warriors via Tor.

ANALYSIS:

“The King of Norway” by Cecelia Holland. I’ve never read anything by Cecelia Holland before, but the author is described as “one of the world’s most highly acclaimed and respected historical novelists.” Not surprisingly, her contribution finds ... Read More