The Eye of Strife


Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 03/09/2018
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Originally from Scotland, Dave Duncan has lived all his adult life in Western Canada, having enjoyed a long career as a petroleum geologist before taking up writing. Since discovering that imaginary worlds are more satisfying than the real one, he has published more than forty-five novels, mostly in the fantasy genre, but also young adult, science fiction, and historical. He has at times been Sarah B. Franklin (but only for literary purposes) and Ken Hood (which is short for “D’ye Ken Whodunit?”)

His most successful works have been fantasy series: The Seventh Sword, A Man of His Wordand its sequel, A Handful of Men, and six books about The King’s Blades.

He and Janet were married in 1959. They have one son and two daughters, who in turn are responsible for a spinoff series of four grandchildren. Dave now lives in Victoria, BC.

His website is at www.daveduncan.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by Francine Zane for Readers' Favorite

Dave Duncan takes the reader on a fascinating journey in The Eye of Strife. When a mythical cyborg eye disappears, a series of unique characters add to the tale of its fame and disappearance. The god seeking this emblem of power is sure that one of them knows more than he is telling.

Dave Duncan weaves a storyteller's dream in The Eye of Strife. This is an intriguing adventure that relies heavily on the value of a good plot with the importance of a good cast coming in at a close second. It is easy to fall into the lyrical simplicity of the tale and only later to realize how much complexity went into weaving the twists and turns into a cohesive adventure. The sword fights, great battles, sly treason, and romance ensure that the pacing is spot on, and the selective use of humor ensures that the book never wanders too far down the path into darkness. By the time all the pieces fell into place, I was left with the gratification of having shared in a thoroughly fulfilling story.

In reviewing the audio book version of The Eye of Strife, I appreciated the professional quality production and the thoughtful selection of Anthony Lee as the narrator. Mr. Lee masterfully handles the shifts in points of view with a selection of voices, all of which add to the enjoyment of the story. His pacing is consistent, and the enunciation makes it easy to focus on the story, whether he is speaking for a male or female character. Combined with the well-written story, this audio book is a winner.

Anthony Lee

As the voice actor who narrated this book, I had much fun reading the story and recording the audio.

Believe it or not, this is actually the first book by Dave Duncan that I have ever read, even though his decades-long writing career has been prolific, with over 50 books to date (in fact, The Eye of Strife is his 50th). Even more surprising is that I have read few fantasy stories up until this point, mainly J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, plus J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. It's not that I dislike reading fantasy books, because I do appreciate the genre. It's just that I tend to be a selective reader, only because I have some time to read but not as much as other people.

I cannot comment on The Eye of Strife compared with his earlier works, but I can at least say that it's a departure from the type of fantasy I think of. Instead of an epic adventure or quest, The Eye of Strife is something I would describe more as a fantasy mystery. You have a central question of the whereabouts of a god's missing eye and a group of witnesses telling their side of the story. As reviewer Francine Zane has mentioned, it is a story that seems simple at first, until more witnesses provide their testimony and help paint a picture that is more complex than early on. There are bits of action in this story, but they are not the key moments in the tale. Rather, the real pleasure of the story is following the moments of multiple characters and seeing how their paths intersect.

I also enjoyed the way the author immersed us in the setting. The story takes place in various cities and villages that have unique designs and customs, such as those with rich merchants, a mysterious council as the prevailing governing body, or prominent temples. On top of that, the characters are interesting to follow. I will say that the characters are not deeply developed, but they are at least sufficiently distinguishable enough from each other. After all, the core story is a courtroom-like drama where a judge (or in this case, a priest accompanied by gods) is presiding over facts being presented. Such a tale would at least have to be plot-based.

For the narration, I decided to have a mix of accented and unaccented characters. When one thinks of fantasy, one usually imagines characters with accents from the United Kingdom, especially given how many modern fantasy stories contain medieval elements, given Tolkien's origin. Because The Eye of Strife, to me, is at least somewhat medieval-inspired but not strictly so, I figured it wouldn't hurt to go farther with vocal experimentation, which was so much fun. I loved doing a raspy voice with a slight English accent for the queen, a pirate-like voice for the blind man, and a pleasant voice for the swordsman Elic. Also, for the voice of the swordsman Kulf, I attempted my bad imitation of actor Sean Connery, the notion of which still makes me laugh. Overall, I look back at all of the voices I created with pride and satisfaction, especially as The Eye of Strife is my first-ever fantasy audiobook and one of my biggest projects as an audiobook narrator.

I thank Francine Zane for the wonderful review and appreciate her insights on the book.

Anthony Lee
Website: anthonyleevoice.com
Facebook and Twitter: AnthonyLeeVoice