Aphelion Review # 37 --The Burning House--

The Burning House: Book Two of the Thran Chronicles

By H. David Blalock

Review by Dan L. Hollifield

Type of music/work:

Fantasy / Adventure
Second volume of what I hope will be a very successful series of novels from H. David Blalock.


H. David Blalock
Cover Art by Julie Sartain
Map by Chris Raymer
Webpage for the book -- Order the book
Published by H. David Blalock and Booklocker.com
Thran Keep David's homepage.
ISBN: 1-59113-439-0
Price: $15.95 POD, $8.95 E-book

General impressions of the album/book:

David continues his great work begun in "Thran Reborn" with a sequel that does the impossible: Its even better than the first book!


Everything that I said in my review of "Thran Reborn" also applies to "The Burning House." The writing is wonderful, the characters are as real as life, and the story is compelling. Its rare that a sequel surpasses the first novel of a series. David has not only done just that, but made it look easy too. That is the mark of a master craftsman! Everything that I stated in the review of "Thran Reborn" holds equally true for "The Burning House" so I'll repeat it below.

David's characters are complex and very well written. Every character has hidden depths and motivations, just like real people. The characters are fleshed out and real, and usually act just the same as real people would in similar situations. Even David's non-human characters are given the same loving care and attention to detail. The personal interactions are natural and believable and contribute to the amount of detail presented with each character. The many characters and motivations make for an exciting multitude of sub-plots and tangents that enhance one's reading pleasure.

And what about the background? The world-building? The different cities and countries ring true, as if one is merely remembering lessons learned rather than being introduced to new concepts. That takes a high degree of skill in the writing thereof. The settings and set dressings seem just as important as the characters. Descriptions of the various locales in the story are well ballanced and not plagued by long expository lumps that would slow down the story. The political factions, the alliances, the magic, the history: All blend together to add to the level of detail and realism conveyed by the story. Every thread ads to the beauty of David's written tapestry. David can hold his head high in the company of established writers as "The Thran Chronicles" can easily be considered his Masterpiece- The work that defines his transition from journeyman student to master craftsman. I think that in the future this novel is going to be considered an important landmark in modern Fantasy by fans and critics alike.

In short, I cannot recommend this book- and the ones soon to follow -anywhere near highly enough. David has a wonderful concept here, one that he has developed far beyond the norm for a first novel. In part, this is because "Thran Reborn" is to be the first of a series of novels set in this world, but it is also because of the way David chooses to write. There are many levels, many plot threads, lots of characters, massive amounts of detail, yet everything flows together seamlessly into an exciting narrative. Well done, David! Well done! I eagerly await the next volumes of the Thran Chronicles!


H. David Blalock is a Midsouth writer who has been writing speculative fiction for over 30 years. His work has previously appeared in several print anthologies and numerous online publications, including Aphelion Webzine. Thran Reborn is his first of several (six?) projected novels in this series.

Review Copyright 2004 by Dan L. Hollifield

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