Author: Donald Calvanese.

Publisher:Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC

ISBN: 978-1-61346-471-7

It has been a quite a while since I last felt this enthralled by a Fantasy read. What an imagination! Delightful and wholesome,  Carcium : The Conflicts Begins is an original, superbly crafted action-packed young-adult fantasy where a spoiled and selfish prince must fight abominable evil in order to regain his kingdom and save his people, and along the way learns about the beauty of nature, the power of kindness and the value of friendships.

Prince Troy of Carcium is lazy, haughty, and mean. Formerly secreted for safety reasons, he is brought to live in the palace after the demise of his father, the wise king. Troy lives in opulence and doesn't feel the slightest twinge of guilt over the sufferings his poor subjects must endure due to his extravagant lifestyle. He takes away their harvests for endless sumptuous state dinners on his honor, and he deprives his people of water by channeling the streams to his own royal gardens. 

Unbeknownst to him, his every movement is being watched by the mystical elves who oversee the kingdoms, and Troy fails their leadership test miserably. This means, Carcium is put in limbo, and evil sorceror Duras Carcer—who draws his life force from fallen kingdoms—will have the opportunity to rule Carcium. Troy has one last chance to redeem himself and revive his kingdom, but first he must find the only weapon that can destroy Duras Carcer. And so, rudely thrown out his lavish castle, the unprepared pampered prince begins his perilous quest…

Calvanese’s storyline is carefully plotted. The action and sword fights—during treacherous encounters with dangerous snake vines, starving giant cats, slobbering gargoyles, despicable knights, revolting demons—are choreographed in suspenseful details, forcing readers to tighten their seatbelts as they are brilliantly taken on a magical journey through the richly drawn settings that aren’t just challenging and spooky, some actually move, and oh, add to that foul scents, vile substances, fires, lightning, deadly obstacles and the time constraints. And the hideous villains! Calvanese cleverly creates chilling characters that even your worst nightmares wouldn’t conjure—malicious malevolent monsters so evil that you sympathize with Troy and his newfound friends, such that you even forgive the very frequent but necessary use of violence in their quest to save the innocent people of Carcium.

Suffice to say, Donald Calvanese is a masterful storyteller with vivid imagination who knows his target audience well. He is at times wicked, often insightful, with powerful narration and the knack to heighten readers’ fear. The first book in the Carcium series, Carcium : The Conflicts Begins is a wonderful read that both young people and adults are sure to enjoy, particularly those who love watching the recent teen Merlin series, speaking of which, I’d absolutely love to see CARCIUM on the big screen, to appreciate its marvelous lands and beautiful creatures, even though I’d be gripping my seat in terror half of the time.

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