Author: J.W. Webb
Gol. A continent on the brink of destruction. Once a mighty kingdom, now six provinces torn apart by treacherous barons. In one province two young lovers strive to stay together when all else prises them apart. Lissane and Erun must survive to guide their people through the coming storm. The odds are stacked against them. Erun, dreamer and fool, is chosen for a dark path. Whilst Lissane is given away by her father
the baron to wed the brutal son of a rival ruler.
Meanwhile, at the far side of the world a sorcerer has freed the fire demon, Ashmali, setting off a chain of events that could ultimately bring about Gol’s long foretold ruin. Caught between rising seas, civil war, and approaching fire the continent’s time is fast running out. Gol features beautiful sketches and maps by Tolkien illustrator, Roger Garland. It opens the doors on a new epic fantasy series titled Legends of Ansu. Within its content lies an sweeping tale of love, hatred, vengeance and destruction. In Gol the high courage of a few individuals is all that stands against the will of fickle gods and treachery of men.
A rather finely weaved story about two lovers, a dreamy poet and the daughter of a baron, who were then separated by the girl’s father. Torn apart, Erun Cade, the son of a blacksmith was initially tortured by Lissane Barola’s brother, Paolo Barola, before his father was killed before his very eyes. Luckily enough, Erun was rescued by a strange man, Irulan, who calls himself a false hermit. Thus the story begins as Irulan trains Erun on his path of avenging his father and on the other hand, Lissane was sent to Galania to marry Prince Varentin Gallante.
I loved how the story was told from various viewpoints and from different places. The story begins from Eon Barola’s point of view before switching to Lissane Barola. As the story progresses, the setting widens to include other faraway kingdoms in the Great Continent where another story was set in motion. Although there were many characters involved, I did not find it hard to keep up due to the unique names given to them. It certainly made things easier especially with the quirky and crazy personalities of different characters.
The setting of Gol was also intricately described; the author presented the natural surroundings of the different provinces in great detail and in such a way that the reader is pulled into the story. One of the many reasons I enjoyed this book was the medieval setting of the story and because it was a high fantasy. It was fun reading about the many wars between the different provinces and about the different plans and treaties made and destroyed between the provinces. If that wasn’t enough to get my attention, outside from Gol, another different terror was fast approaching from a distant continent and Gol was fast sinking into the seas again.
Erun Cade was the most dynamic character, as the story progresses, he was completely changed from the weak poet that he was into a warrior that is trained in every aspect. But his emotions remained the same. Although he was separated from Lissane for a length of a number of years, his love towards her remained the same. I really respected that part of him. What both Erun and Lissane have in common is their resilient spirits that is able to withstand any adversity. They both focused on their goals and I think that was partly the reason why they held on to their lives with all their might.
Lissane Barola was another interesting character. She was strong-headed and strong-willed, and filled with hatred for her father and her brothers. It was only with her personality she was able to survive in Galania for so long. It was saddening to see how she was treated in Galania, though. Although she was a daughter of a ruler, she was treated badly in Galania. Lissane was nothing but a pawn to her father but it was certainly a good thing that she had no intention at all of obeying her father. She took her life in her own hands the moment she exited Barola.
Of all the characters in Gol, I liked Red Torrig the most. He was mad, that was for certain but at the same time, he was loyal and trustworthy though he had few friends. Although he did not have a handsome appearance nor did he act like the noble he was, he actually had substance and having him as an ally would prove to be of great worth. Torrig probably the craziest character in the whole of the book, but then again, a story such as this would only be completed with such a character.
Gol was certainly a very interesting story to read; it reminded me of epics where a lowly, weak boys became heroes in the end. Gol actually reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia, with abounding magic, quests and ultimately, the fight against evil. One good thing to note, Gol is only the beginning.
I would like to happily thank Kayleigh from Book and the Bear and the author, J. W. Webb for providing me with such an exciting adventure as Gol.
Amazon Link: Gol (Legends of Ansu- Book 1)
Interview with J. W. Webb:
What inspired me to write my book?
A crazy imagination and restless roving mind! I’ve always loved stories and have always been a storyteller, ever since I was a kid in the playground I enthused in tales that could carry the imagination far and wide, roaming free without any harness to rein it in. I was a fan of The Lord of the Rings as a teen and that led me on to read dozens of fantasy books during the 70’s and 80’s resulting in fantasy becoming my favorite genre and greatest influence. I also have a fascination for Celtic and Norse mythology which led me to delve deep in that area too. Then about twenty years ago I put pen to paper and my ongoing series, Legends of Ansu was born. An epic fantasy series with echoes of myth.
Specific writing style
I don’t know, but reviewers have written that I write with a ‘rare literary flow’ uncommon for most modern fantasy authors. I just write and the words spill out, like an artist I like to paint vivid scenes and take my reader far away, give them a break from reality for a while. As far as fantasy is concerned I pitch my writing to a Tolkien-esque tapestry but with characters just as compelling and three dimensional as those found in game of Thrones, (though I do try and keep most of my crew alive.) J
I have 4 books on sale and I’m working on number 5. Most the titles are typical fantasy, The Shattered Crown, The Lost Prince, The Glass Throne etc. (Does what it says on the tin.) ‘Gol’ one word I thought gave a certain punch. This is the prequel to my series actually written after The Shattered Crown but set a 1000 years earlier, thus now offered out as the first book. It was originally titled Fall of Gol, but I shortened it to Gol a couple of years back. Don’t know why, just like it better.
What books have influenced my life most?
A lot! Lord of the Rings mainly when I was young I lived inside those pages, but also Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson, Tigana, by Guy Kay, Lyonesse, Jack Vance, Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword (I actually think perhaps the best small fantasy novel ever written) and Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion series – to name but a few. I was also influenced by the Mabinogi, especially the version adapted by Evangeline Walton, these tales from Welsh mythology just blew me away. Other genres? I like Historical Fiction and some of Bernard Cornwell’s novels have influenced my writing too.
Fantasy, mostly. I’m comfortable with the genre. That said, I enjoyed writing my ghost story novella(The Haven) set in Cornwall, England, past and present. I do intend to write in other genres. I have plans to pen a tale about Hereward the Wake (a very underrated Saxon hero around at the time of the Norman Conquest) and several of the early Scottish kings fascinate me. I also want to pen more suspense, spooky supernatural creepy stuff – though not horror. Never horror. But mainly fantasy, my ‘Legends’ series is due to run for another 5 books! My goal – 1 book every year until I snuff it or they come to take me away, haha!
Advice for other writers?
Check in at the clinic? Only joking J Read, read and read again, I don’t read nearly enough as I should, never seem to get the time. Take critism/rejections on the chin and move on (I have had shed loads of rejections from agents over the years – ain’t no big thing.) Enjoy what you do and stick at it, one word will lead to the next. Write it. DON’T GIVE UP! As Kate Bush once sang in that brilliant Peter Gabriel song. That’s it!
Not yet! I’ve got so much crazy stuff between my ears my main problem is getting it out without it resembling spaghetti! I f I do get WB I shall go outside feed the chickens and maybe have a cold beer or two in the sunshine. Or else I’ll walk the dogs in the rain and sip claret by the fireside.
Hated something I’ve wrote?
No. I’ve looked at early stuff and thought it was crap but I’ve never hated it. Everything has a purpose. All part of the learning curve.
Favorite theme, Genre?
Explained above J
Love of writing came from?
As I said I’m a storyteller first and writer second. A lot of folk reverse these priorities and that’s fine for them. I do enjoy writing, but probably like a conductor in an orchestra, I cannot settle until the story is down and the concert audience clapping. At some point I had to get those tales into words on paper, and later on laptop and tablet. Writing is just the conduit, the sword in the warrior’s hand. I had to learn the craft of writing and I still am, always will be. Yes, I enjoy it, but the stories are my true love. I like to create something unique and inspiring, then hammer it out in words that make sense! Writing’s a job, but it sure beats driving a big rig like I did for 25 years!
Hardest part of writing books?
For me it’s editing, going over and over in finite detail before sending off to my editor, and then after she’s butchered it, more work. Also the first draft kinda wears me out, it’s always a relief to get that done, the main structure and framework of the story down on paper – phew…. I enjoy the following drafts, which are fine-tuning and polishing. That’s where the real satisfaction comes – knowing that it’s starting to look great. Then it’s time for editing – ugh.
I love creating evocative scenes that tug the imagination; it’s what I’m good at. I like to take my reader somewhere very special. I also get a buzz from writing high speed action scenes and witty dialogue – my characters are often lively and argumentative, I think it makes a nice balance to have gritty three-dimensional banter set to a mystical alien backdrop.
Write every day?
Not yet, I’m still working on that and have to spend a deal of time on all the myriad other facets indie authors have to master. For me at 55 years old, these prove a challenge, as my fingers have spent more years wielding sledgehammers than tapping keyboards. Suffice to say, I’m learning new tricks J. I also have other unrelated projects, which demand attention. I go in spurts, write for six weeks full pelt then leave it alone for a month, let it percolate – works for me.
Which writers inspire me?
Stephen King comes to mind, because he’s achieved so much. Of course many of the classics by: Shakespeare, Austin, Dickens, Hardy, and Elliot. And then there are fantasy writers from the 20th century: Tolkien, CS Lewis, Richard Adams, Raymond Feist, David Eddings, E.R.R Eddison, Lord Dunsany etc etc. But any talented wordsmith is a joy to read.
Working on at the moment?
The Glass Throne. Book 4 in my Legends series, I just finished second draft and will resume in June. It’s taking shape nicely and follows on directly after the conclusion of the last book – The Lost Prince. It’s big and I’m contemplating splitting it in two, maybe I’ll ask you, my reader, about that?
GT will be the final (or penultimate) tale involving my unwashed protagonist, Corin an Fol, a ‘Longswordsman’ with a shady past and an attitude problem. His tale started in The Shattered Crown, Which, as I explained earlier, is set 1000 years after Gol. GT, like the books before it, fuses myth and magic with cold hard steel. It focuses on the various rebels and factions currently trying to unseat the usurping sorcerer, Caswallon. It involves a catalogue of capricious gods, neurotic demigods, spiteful demons and warlocks, and badly behaved mortals with big nasty weapons. It’s the 4th book I’ve penned about the world – Ansu. ‘A place where you can never own enough sharp things!’ Thanking you for your time! J.W.W.
(Questions and answers provided by Books and the Bear)