Eye of the Storm by Frank Cavallo

four stars

frankAnthropologist Dr. Anna Fayne and paranormal adventurer Eric Slade head up an expedition to Kyrgyzstan in search of 25,000-year-old Neanderthals. Their mission to find prehistoric life in the mountainous region seems to go nowhere until Anna, Eric, and their crew suddenly find themselves caught in the vortex of a tornado that transports them to another realm. Two years pass and the only remaining crew stranded in the Jurassic Park-like environ are Anna and Eric. The duo is taken captive and turned into slaves for a kingdom that is on the verge of war to lay claim to a powerful treasure, the Eye of the Storm—the port that will get them back to their world. That’s if they manage to survive.

Horror and dark fantasy author Frank Cavallo spins a fast-paced tale in his latest read. Bringing together the past and the present, Cavallo surrounds Anna and Eric—his main characters—with a unique cast and setting. Cavallo mixes the prehistoric with elements of Ancient Rome to produce a host of intelligent and sophisticated Neanderthal-ish characters. Equally odd yet interesting is their kingdom, which is combination of Romanesque architecture and primitive beasts. Cavallo keeps his narrative fresh and flowing by his constant use of contrast. Aside of his distinctive cast and setting design, Cavallo throws in moments of humor amid drama (i.e., language differences between the time period characters while dealing with slavery), and highlights the forces of good and evil—to name a few examples. Of course, top on the evil chart is the powerful wizard Tarquin. Cavallo’s use of this particular antagonist throws a flurry of twists and turns into his narrative, especially as Tarquin obsessively searches for the legendary treasure. Quite a page-turner, Eye of the Storm is bound to be a favorite among fantasy enthusiasts.

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