When one of the Guys from 93 Made Games reached out to me about a review, I jumped at the opportunity even before he told me what it was. I have had some great times with their games in the past and No Fish was actually the first review I ever did; well before my days with Australian Tabletop Gaming Network. So, imagine my surprise when Anthony told me he was approaching me about a personal project and not as part of 93 Made Games. I didn’t know what to think, so I waited as the 3 or 4 dots of Facebook messenger seemed to linger for what seemed like days. Anthony finally said it wasn’t actually a game but a book he had been writing on the side. I was excited when I thought it was a game, but a book had me confused but very interested. Over the years Anthony and I had chatted quite a bit about books and our favorite authors, so he thought I might like it and that I would give him honest feedback on it to boot.
It took me a couple of weeks to read and I must say it wasn’t what I expected. I did judge the book by its cover and name and expected a fantasy tale from the 12th to 14th century. But that isn’t it at all. Anthony has written a blend of historical fantasy and sci-fi set in a gritty real world environment that just works.
The Grey Templars: Humanity’s Haven is set in the 2090’s. After World War 3 turned nuclear several countries reported paranormal activities, sighting of inhuman creatures and strange cults roaming the streets. The Holy Church stepped up and offered the leadership the world craved and encouraged other religions to do the same. The people accepted that religion could succeed where politics failed.
Just previous to these reports the denizens of hell decided that the people’s lack of unity was a signal for their advancement into the world. Vampires created Brood Nest; unnatural creatures, some with fur, some with scales and even some with horns started roaming at night & cults sprang up dedicated to the dark one.
These creatures couldn’t be defeated by mere men and women alone, so science stepped in to assist. They created genetically modified men with greater strength, resilience and fortitude both mentally and physically that reach adulthood in a few weeks. These soldiers were able to live for 200 to 500 years old and are immune to toxins and poisons. These soldiers also had their genes spliced with different animals giving each soldier a special and unique ability depending on what animal was used. They were then equipped with both modern and ancient weapons and these soldiers became the Templars and the only thing standing before hell on earth.
The Grey Templars: Humanity’s Haven follows the story of our protagonist Templar Captain Donis and his team of brothers through a story of twists and turns. The book is written in first person for about 90% of the book. I tend to find that this can be quite annoying with some books because it seems like some author is forcing or crowbarring information and storyline into the dialogue. Anthony has not done this; the dialogue and information seems to be given naturally and quite organically. Though you can sometimes feel like you are missing out on some of the other characters interaction and relationships it is handled extremely well. You can feel how close these men are and how well they understand one another, even though it is all seen through the eyes of Captain Donis.
The fight scenes are great, they are quick and detailed, cleverly and clearly thought out with a great understanding of the combatants and their style. I like that he has really utilized the Templars spliced abilities and even though they have been enhanced, it never feels like they are unbeatable or that they just walk in, kill everything in the room and walk away unscratched. I did really enjoy the fight scenes, but my only real criticism is that there seems to be the same move and counter move repeated in several fights, almost like there needs to be a little research done on other words or maneuvers but this is very minor. I was really reaching for straws when it comes to criticisms.
One element of this book that I really enjoyed and thought was very cleverly thought out was the DNA splicing. Anthony choose these animals extremely cleverly and the characteristics and unique abilities he gave the Templars really added a new level of depth to them. Anthony could have also gone wild and crazy with his animal choice but instead he chose several animals and each Templar was part of that “animal family.” Like most of this book, it was handled with just the right amount of finesse and was not overdone or forced.
Anthony really is the master of subtlety. He could have quite easily got a bit too heavy handed with the church and religion or gone overboard on the supernatural or sci-fi themes, but he hasn’t. He has sprinkled the perfect amount of religion, just enough to give you the feel of the old school 12th century Templar. He has also included just enough supernatural elements so that the enemy feels like a challenge and a touch of sci-fi and futuristic elements but never taking away from the story and characters. This is very much a character driven book with some great exciting action and adventure elements.
Overall, I loved Anthony’s Book, The Grey Templars: Humanity’s Haven, and for $3USD for the eBook this is a no brainer. I can’t recommend it enough, whether you are a sci-fi, an action adventure or supernatural fan, you are going to love this character driven action book.
So, get out your kindle or your other eBook reader and head here to get your copy of this great book.
As a added bonus, Anthony has advised he has given a 50% discount for the whole month of July 2017 to coincide with this review.
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