The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by writer & photographer Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 29; Fantasy in an Urban World

written by @coombstw

Smashing its way through the world in a juggernaut of the Gods kind of way is the most epic of epic urban fantasy stories.  Now in its third titled series, with only one book to go, it has spanned centuries and eight years in our world. And sat on the throne in his role as the one true God of this world of Gods, Dragons, Sorcerers, Werebeasts and so much more is Southampton based author Steve McHugh.

I felt that this series needed me to write about it, it has been a part of my life since book one in 2012 and now it is coming to an end it deserves all the recognition.  It is in the realms of best sellers already so this is just my bow to a great urban fantasy. Before I start to sound like a gushing cockwomble fan girl (maybe too late) I shall begin.............

I am aware not everyone is into fantasy novels, it is a staple to much of my reading.  I hate long winded over indulgent stories, like Game of Thrones, I am very vocal on my dislike of the TV series and boredom of the books, plus nerds writing overly graphic sex scenes makes me stop reading as just a sad little boy fantasy.  So when I stumbled on this series with a 99p offer on my Kindle for the first book, and it wasn’t too long, if it was bad I hadn’t lost much, and I have not looked back. That first book was Crimes Against Magic, in the Hellequin Chronicles where we were introduced to Nate Garrett a thief and trouble magnet.  What drew me in and kept me focused was the ease of reading, the flow is nice to follow and with the jumps between modern times and the distant past you could think it would get messy. Yet both stories collide and the past and present are very much linked. This is the same for all the books in the Hellequin series, whether the link is direct, same character or a similar situation which both happen in this series.  The likeability of the characters is also a strong point and even the hatred of the bad guy and when they are bad they are very bad. This is no kids book or young teenagers, with a lot of killing and swearing, some very imaginable and amusing, “cockwomble” for instance, among many others, mostly come up in the later books from a certain fox-like character.

Writing about a book collection of this magnitude is hard without giving away so much, but I think I can get away with the following.  It is about a mystery spanning thousands of years. Gods and monsters are real, magic is real, King Arthur and such people do exist, Camelot is a place and the wonders this world creates is amazing.  From the start the mystery grows and the battles get bigger, more characters are introduced like the cast of a certain film franchise (note this would make a great film series or TV things). So that is it in a nutshell.

There are three sets, The Hellequin Chronicles followed by three interconnected books in the Avalon Chronicles which follows a different set of characters with a few familiar faces and finishing with The Rebellion Chronicles, where it all comes together.  They are all linked and you understand the change in the names as the characters progress and the main man Nate moves through his journey of discovery one death at a time. With epic battles between good and evil and twists and turns at every step you may think this would be hard to keep up with, or to now start.  But these are fun adventures and I have shot through every instalment, it really is one that is hard to put down. It is beautifully linked through out each standalone book, the later ones do start to interconnect but still one battle at time. So we know that from the start it was moving to what I believe will be a final battle to end all final battles.

If you are a fantasy fan and want something in a more modern setting in a world you thought you knew, then this is one series for you. Plus is a bit like a history lesson of Gods and myths.

All are available via Amazon on this link (at time of writing only 99p for Kindle edition).