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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Umbral Ten is a work of fiction in the fantasy and action/adventure sub-genres and was penned by author Douglas Murphy. Forming the first novel in the Khaldaia Chronicles, this work contains explicit language usage and some scenes of moderate violence which are suitable for more mature readers. In a dark world far from our own, we meet protagonist Theodosia Archmail after terrible tragedy has befallen her monastic home. Murder and beasts have brought ruin under the blood-red moon, and Theo has no choice but to run and find other survivors like her. But her horrors are only beginning as her island catches the eye of those who would do yet more evil.
Author Douglas Murphy has crafted a fantastic and suspenseful dark fantasy work which is sure to delight those who revel in layered narratives with ensemble casts and lashings of horror overlaid into the plot. The group of heroes had a kind of D&D atmosphere to them which I really enjoyed: a party of differing qualities, strengths, and weaknesses that band together well to take on the horrors which have befallen them. The worldbuilding around Theo is superb for its detailed involvement and consideration of wider factors, bringing to life a land that stretches far beyond the immediate action and certainly has scope for a lot more intrigue as the series continues. Theo herself was an excellently penned hero figure who still has room to grow. Overall, I would certainly recommend Umbral Ten to fans of dark fantasy, gritty action, and excellent atmospheric writing.