As I write this review, I can't help but feel the plainness of my words when measured to the tale Jeff Suwak has wrought. It has been years since I've experienced anything like Beyond the Tempest Gate, and even the closest comparison is a pale thing.
I suppose if I were one to make comparisons it would be something like:
"Beyond the Tempest Gate, as written by Jeff Suwak, takes the deep emotional journey of The Wizard of Earthsea and combines it with the poetic beauty and tragedy of The Name of the Wind."
But this type of analogy would be inaccurate and ill-considered. The truth is, Jeff Suwak is a master artisan in a room full of ragamuffin peddlers. He takes everything that is dark about contemporary fantasy and molds it together with all the themes we miss from tragedies like "Oedipus Rex," Beowulf, The Iliad...
Bah! I'm making comparisons again. The point is, you need to read Beyond the Tempest Gate. It's only about 70 pages, but packed into those pages is the harrowing tragedy of a man named Gabriel Aterias with more hubris than North Korea holding an atomic bomb.
The Holy Knight Gabriel discovers an old prophecy of a boy who will some day rid the world of a great and powerful demon. I mean, really, after hearing such a story who wouldn't fancy himself a hero? But Gabriel goes above and beyond boyish fancy and takes this prophecy upon himself into a tempest of dedication. He will stop at nothing to fulfill his own prophecy, even if it means the loss of his own immortal soul.
The Tempest Gate will pull the reader to and fro, never willing to let go. Even after a bout of cathartic weeping you'll stop to ponder the life you've been living. At what point do we begin to believe the lies we tell ourselves? Is a mask as good as the face we wear beneath? I think Kurt Vonnegut had it right when he wrote, "We are what we pretend to be[...]so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
If you're looking for something new, for a contemplative and entertaining work of literature in a genre saturated with escapism, check out Beyond The Tempest Gate by Jeff Suwak. You won't be disappointed.
UPDATE: AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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