BOOK REVIEW: THE TOWERING FLAME (Book I, The Survivors Series) by Robert I. Katz

“Avoid the dead cities, and even more important, avoid the mistakes that caused those cities to be dead.” This is an ominous admonition from A Child’s First Lesson Upon Entering Scholium which begins Book One in Robert I. Katz’s Sci fi/fantasy series, The Survivors.

Colonized by an advanced civilization, the world author Katz creates is one in which technology and science have been banned and looting in the dead cities can be dangerous and deadly. The seven nations of this world are ruled by an omnipotent Viceroy who enforces the rules that keep civilization in a medieval state. The tenets of this empire are guarded not only by the Viceroy but by the clergy and the Inquisitoria. The seven kingdoms are populated by fiefdoms ruled by warlords who vie for power, wealth, and status. The peasant class is left alone as they are needed to till the fields and perform other duties which form the backbone of this society.

Enter Terence Allen, the third son of Lord Allen, who is an indolent lad, born to wealth and privilege. He is engaged to Irina Archer, a girl he has knowns since childhood and daughter of Lord Malachi Archer. Their union has been sealed by a contract between the two families. Irina is, however, a headstrong young woman and takes a liking to Thierry Jorge Garcia, a nobleman from one of the other kingdoms she met years before and was enamored of. Thus, the contract is broken and Terence is told by his father to “be gracious.” Being gracious, however, is not something Terence is acquainted with and, when next he sees Irina and Garcia together at a festival dinner, he uses telekinesis (an ability he was born with but has pretty much ignored) to play a prank on them. This results in a blood feud between Terence and Garcia which may end in the young lad’s death. But the Viceroy has other plans for this young nobleman and when they are put into play, they set him off on a journey unlike any you’ve read before!

In The Towering Flame author Katz has created a fascinating dystopian world peopled by a complex and interesting cast of characters. The story is quite satisfying, but leaves the reader wanting more. I’m curious to find out who the one-eyed man that appears in the Epilogue is and guess I’ll just have to get the next book in the series to find out! Highly recommended for lovers of dystopian dramas, world-building, and sci fi/fantasy epics. 

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