Mark Anthony's "Crypt of the Shadowking": A Fantasy


Crypt of the Shadowking by Mark Anthony is a fantasy tale of the never
ending struggle of good against evil. The Zhentarim, the hell-bent organization
which is more concerned with making a profit than the greater good of all has
taken over the city of a thousand spires. The Harpers, a loosely construed
group of people who are always meddling in others affairs to keep the proverbial
balance between good and evil in check, are ready to get the once bustling trade
city back on the track it once was with the help of a former member. Through
out the book there is never a dull moment, making it easy to read in just one or
two sittings. Anyone who loves a good fantasy should read this book.
After seven long years of traveling, the rough looking, worn out Caledan
Caldorien is returning to his home town Ireaebor and finds it has been taken
over by a tyrant known as Cutter. In Caledan's absence, Cutter has passed many
ridiculous laws and anyone violating any of these is forced into slavery under
the Tor which the city is set upon, where Cutter is mining to find the crypt of
the Shadowking, where the nightstone, an ancient artifact of great and evil
power, believed to be. Caledan finds this out through a connection within the
slums and goes to find his old traveling companions who once made up the Company
of the Dreaming Dragon. After reuniting, the company goes to find the tomb of
Merrimeck to find the secret of the shadow song, the known power against the
Shadowking and the nightstone. As the company travels to toward the Fields of
the Dead, they encounter a shadevar, a horrifying and powerful foe thought to
have been banished from the world of Toril long ago. After a wild battle, and
the death of the shadevar, the company thief, Ferrit, searches the corpse and
finds a ring which enabled the shadervar to communicate with the frighteningly
powerful creature who summoned it, and through magic the mage, Morhion, finds
that the master of the shadevar was not the lord Cutter as they had once thought
but Cutter's own lord steward, Snake. After returning, Ferrit does a little
spying and finds that Snake has made a pact with the Shadowking and to conspire
against Cutter and eventually rule over all of Toril. The Company of the
Dreaming Dragon devise a plan to free all of the slaves and through a little
flag waving get all of the slaves and cityfolk alike to revolt against Cutter
and the Zhentarim. As the slaves are freed, however, Cutter finds the Crypt
while personally leading a group of soldiers against the revolt, unleashes the
Shadowking while greedily trying to take the nightstone for her own, and is
grotesquely killed by the being. But of course the Company intervenes and uses
the shadowsong to drive the Shadowking back into the crypt and they save the
world.
The book revolves around the main character Caledan Caldorien. The fact
that Caledan cannot be around his friends from the past without rousing memories
of his wife who was killed seven years before causes a conflict within him, man
versus self, because he has to have the help of his old traveling companions to
survive. With Cutter leading the Zhentarim forces into Iriaebor and Snake
conspiring with the Shadowking, the company has to stop the dictator and the
being of evil before the Shadowking arises and all hope is lost, a good versus
evil conflict. Being told in third person omniscient point of view, the reader
is opened to all characters thoughts: “‘Caledan swore under his breath, that was
all he needed, another female to make his life miserable.”, “‘Snake was going to
have to take action, and he would need lord Cutter's help, but first he would
half to decide how much to tell her.”
When Cutter finds the nightstone the climax hits and sends the reader
into such a frenzy that one may skip over half a page to find out what happens
next. “ This time the pain showed clearly on Cutter's beautiful face. The blood
drained from her cheeks, her eyes widening as she stared at the nightstone. ‘
No!' she cried out in horror.” “Bow to me! a vast and ancient voice thundered
within Caledan's mind. Terror clawed brutally at his heart. Bow to me. I am
Darkness! “ “‘To me! To me!' Tyveris bellowed in his enormous voice. Despite
the din, all around