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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
On arrival at the mysterious Cult Island, the elite Alpha Z squad, led by Captain Alexander Bennet, is quickly embroiled in a deadly firefight. Only four of them are left standing and barely escaping with their lives, they are helped by a cloaked stranger. Following him through a series of underground tunnels and caves, they are led to a portal through which they travel to a very different world. Exodus – Book 1 by J.B. Nelson narrates the group’s adventures in what is effectively a medieval society where their modern weapons are soon depleted and useless. Here they learn of ancient legends that speak of four Earthen beings who will unite the Northern Kingdoms and lead them into the Second Great War against their aggressive and barbaric southern neighbors. As they travel the strange land, they encounter numerous creatures; some exotic, some mystical, some familiar, but varying greatly in size. Through the long journey to discover the White Sword of Durath, a vital key to uniting the kingdoms, they must face many challenges and fight battles against bandits and marauding hordes. As their modern weapons lose their usefulness, they must learn to use more antiquated tools for battle, but strangely, they begin to discover hidden powers of their own - magical powers to create fire and ice from nothing but the air that surrounds them. Will they learn to control and develop these new found abilities? Where are these strange powers coming from and will they help to unite the kingdoms?
Exodus – Book 1 is a classic fantasy. In it, you will find yourself immersed in a medieval world of legend, magic, and dragons. Conflict commences from the early pages with battles involving modern weapons kicking off the action, which will develop into larger skirmishes involving dragons and later more close-quarter fights with swords and crossbows - all described in intimate, sometimes gory detail. The characters are mysterious and well-drawn, with the enemy protagonists presenting an especially brutal aspect to the tale. I particularly liked the inclusion of familiar animals like elk, owls, and squirrels in the plot - their involvement in the narrative added an unusual twist. I found the several threads of the storyline cogent and well-observed. Nelson has handled this aspect with skill and I look forward to finding out what will happen to the beleaguered world he has created. Fans of the fantasy genre will not be disappointed in this epic tale.