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Book Review: Lesson of The Fire


Lesson of the Fire is a book by author Eric Zawadzki, published on April 28th 2012 by Four Moons Press. It tells the story of a wizard, who just wanted to have a quiet life. But when people who use magic to enforce their rule came to his village, he fought ruthlessly, but he failed to save his village. He then started a civil war against the magocracy.


As a newly graduated wizard, Sven Takraf served poor villages in Marrishland because he wanted a peaceful place to raise his young family away from magocrats – wizards who used magic to enforce their reign. When a powerful magocrat sought to annex the villages under his protection, though, Sven fought back ruthlessly in their defense.

Fought back but lost.

Devastated by the deaths of the people he had sworn to protect, Sven devotes himself to breaking the power of the magocrats. His vision wins many loyal disciples but also makes countless powerful enemies, and soon he finds himself presiding over the bloodiest civil war in living memory.

Beyond the nation’s borders, an ancient enemy gathers its forces to invade, and Marrishland is not prepared. If Sven cannot unite the nation he has divided, all his plans will come to naught but the extinction of his race.

(Thanks goodreads for the summary.)

My reading experiences:

The book begins with some single combat among the mages, which kind of made me think that there will be awesome duels in the future. However, that did not come to pass.

Instead, I got to see a civil war, and an outsider sort of enemy invading during the civil war.

Sven is a strange character. In any other setting, where he didn’t experienced so much bitterness in his life, he probably would have been a scholar, and very passionate one at that. But here, he becomes the leader, and nearly destroys himself by the end of the book because of his ambitions.

I personally don’t consider the ambitions to be evil or anything. But you need to have some balance, or the people who are willing to drag you out of the deep end if need be. Otherwise, we may all end up like Sven.


Despite being the same as so many fantasy books, with medieval setting, inhuman enemies, slavery, I can’t help but like this book.

This is because, the battles are truly great. The narrative switches around with enemy characters, and we get the pov of all the generals involved. Which is a nice way of writing a battle, instead of describing the whole chaos.

With that said, there are some issues. One of which is the naming of the places and characters.

Fantasy authors often name the people and places uniquely, and though it can make the story stand out, it can go too far. More than once, I needed to go back and read again, to remember the names of the characters and locations.

Naming things uniquely is not a problem. But naming them so uniquely that the reader can’t remember them? This is where you need to draw the line.

Also, for being magic users, the wizards in this book seem to rely too much on the gods. With Sven’s personality, I thought that he might try to overthrow the gods, but that never happened. Which is a sad thing, given how strong the magic is in this setting.

The final thing, inhuman enemies. The civil war was going fine, but then these non-human intelligent species shows up. I won’t say that they appeared out of nowhere. Because they were foreshadowed early from the book.

My problem is, fantasy authors kind of cop out with the easy option of non-human enemies. They should let the humans fight amongst themselves, we’re certainly capable of doing so, and to me, the story is all the more interesting for it.

Because the humans are understandable. But despite having a lot of intelligent creatures in the real world, none equal us in the intelligence department. As such, none of us have any idea of how will we react to say if snakes have civilization, and they decided that they want to fight the humans for the resources.

That, and it is kind of easy to hate some non-human enemy. But again, I don’t want someone easy to hate. I want to read something more than that.

Anyway, pick up this book, despite my complains, it is a fine fantasy book. A word of advice, go through it slowly.

The book is fairly large, and coupled with hard to remember names, it will be a good idea if you went through it slowly.

Thanks for reading my review. You can follow me on twitter:

My twitter.

On this Friday, I’ll be reviewing the anime Elfen Lied, so do watch out for that one. Please like, comment, and share this article.

Published by Tanish Shrivastava

I'm a guy who likes programming, chess, and writing.

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