Review | Cry Havoc by Keith G. Seegmiller

Cry Havoc, by Keith G. Seegmilller

Every now and then I get lucky. Someone–a publisher, an author–sends me an ARC, a beta edition of their book, or a new release, and I get to be one of the first people to experience a book, to read a new story.

Cry Havoc: Book One of the Havoc Journals is just such a time. A few months into the year, Keith Seegmiller (who also happens to have the dubious distinction of being my uncle, so take this for what it’s worth) sent me a copy of his manuscript. It was rough, but it was interesting, different, and something new…and that’s kind of hard to find in fantasy these days.

A disorder of unknown origin is afflicting the people of Grandsweep. It manifests in mental instability frequently attended by violent behavior. Myths and superstitions about the affliction have multiplied for many years. One of the most enduring theories is that it spreads by contact with, or proximity to, other afflicted persons. Therefore, every public occurrence causes widespread panic, shutting down all normal activities. Thus its street name: Havoc. In Book One of his journal, Daine chronicles the struggles and adventures of his youth. Daine and his older sister, Leeam, are attacked by a violent victim of Havoc. Daine escapes mental and physical injury with the assistance of his sister, but she is afflicted with a dazed condition in which she is unable to speak or care for herself. Daine, overwhelmed by guilt, vows to spend his life seeking a cure for his beloved sister and the cause and prevention for Havoc.

Opening as a journal entry of a man looking back over his life and a lifelong struggle, we follow Daine as he learns about the debilitating affliction Havoc over the course of his coming of age and growing from boy to man. Equal parts mystery, adventure, coming of age, and fantasy, Cry Havoc has that quality of originality that is refreshing in all good fiction. Further, Seegmiller’s approach is unique in that his story demonstrates an appreciation for the strength and importance of love in familial relationships, putting his protagonist’s relationships with his family at the center of the conflict.

For years, Seegmiller and I have swamped paperback copies of science fiction and fantasy novels (though I admit to borrowing more from him than lending), and we share a love for the wonder that imaginary worlds carry. It’s exciting to see his labors to put his own story to paper and to print, and I look forward to more him as he finishes out the series that Cry Havoc begins.

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About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.