The book opens up among the gods of the land of Terrigan. An exiled goddess of Mercy finds herself made mortal, where she gives birth to a son. Her union with a human brings misfortune upon them both, as they are slaughtered. Lance, the orphan child of prophesy, survives with an agenda of vengeance, hiding secret magical abilities.
Together with his brawny swordsman friend Jude, they travel the Terrigan countryside together against a backdrop of impending war between the human nation of Beykla and the dwarf nation of Stoneheart, seeking a translation for an ancient text. The narrative interweaves a myriad of characters, paladin Apollisian, for which the book is named, his comrades Alexis the elf and a squire, the general dwarf Amerix, and Were-Rats along the way.
The book moves quickly, and proves a light read with an action-packed plot. Shane Moore enjoys exploring the language as he depicts scenes with great diligence. For the reader who enjoys epic fantasy movies, this is a good choice, as the book evokes a cinematic feel in pacing and scenes, from the foolish thief who runs across dinner tables to evade capture, to the evil King of Nalir who enjoys torturing his lackeys with smarmy, self-satisfaction, to a dragon sprawled across his ancient treasure.
However, there is an emotional aspect lacking within the central characters that detracts from the whole. Lance is angry over the murder of his parents, but it ties into his present actions as more of an afterthought. The reader who craves a more character-driven story may do well to seek elsewhere.
Martin Rose lives in New Jersey, where he writes a range of fiction from the fantastic to the macabre, holds a degree in graphic design, and enjoys blurring the line between art and life. More details are available at www.MartinRoseHorror.com.