Hollow Road (Maer Cycle book 1)Hollow Road by Dan Fitzgerald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hollow Road is the start of a heroes’ journey, and the first book in the Maer Cycle trilogy. We meet three protagonists, Carl, Sinnie and Finn. They’ve been tasked with returning the body of one of their peers to their hometown. Each of the three has been away following their chosen profession, soldiering for Carl, circus entertainment for Sinnie, and learning to be a mage for Finn.

Hollow Road

Our protagonists have been asked to journey back to their hometown to take their friend’s body to its final resting place.  They’re given the task by their friend’s father, a rich man who pays them handsomely, and hints at trouble on their three day journey down the Hollow Road. The source of the trouble is alleged to be the legendary Maer, although plenty of tales of the Maer are told no-one any of the three protagonists knows has every actually seen one. According to legend the Maer used to rule the whole area, although humans drove them off many years ago.

The setting for Hollow Road

Hollow Road is set in a sort of mediaeval world, with just a small sprinkling of magic. It’s pretty low fantasy from the perspective of the story. There are no flashing lights or fireballs when Finn uses magic, just some unusual effects. Carl is equipped with a suit of chain mail, a shield and sword, very like a Saxon/Norman warrior might have been. Sinnie shoots a pretty normal sounding bow.

Their home town, Brocland, is one of those end of the road sort of places, filled with youngsters and old people. Most of the kids grow up and leave, which reminded me of the Highlands. I got a real sense of the rurality of the place. Although Brocland is described as a town, there’s a sense of failing grandeur, with only a few of the families still there. The whole setting has a sense of a long forgotten history, just like Wiltshire feels.

What becomes apparent as the story moves on is how much of the folklore of the Maer, and other creatures, has been forgotten. How human stories dramatise themselves over time, twisting how we see things. Hollow Road is the beginning of a trilogy. The main characters eyes are opened to a larger world than they’d previously believed in. How much the rest of the human realm will react calmly and accept it remains to be seen.  I’m now looking forward to reading the sequel to Hollow Road when it finally comes out!

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Giveaway banner for Hollow Road by Dan FitzgeraldPrize: A signed paperback copy of Hollow Road by Dan Fitzgerald (x3)
Restrictions: US Only
Date Starts: September 13, 2020 at 12:00am EDT
Date Ends: September 20, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT

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