Review of Quintessence by David Walton

The Age of Exploration…And Magic

Quintessence is an excellent example of the power of speculative fiction to explore human nature and history.  Walton takes a specific point in history—the Age of Exploration and religious strife in England—and introduces fantastical elements to it to cast illumination in a particular direction.  The England of Walton’s world looks a lot like the England of the mid-1500s.  But there is a very, very different New World.

Quintessence cover

Quintessence opens with a crew of men returned from the New World.  They’ve brought back untold riches, but they’ve also brought back a strange malady slowly stiffening their joints.  And, as they discover shortly before they reach ground, those untold riches turned to rocks and sand.

One (of a few things) that sets Quintessence apart is how the characters react to magic.  These are men who know nothing of magic.  But they’re also men of (proto-)science.  So they approach the magic wonders of the New World with a scientific curiosity.  They are also, if not men of faith, men for whom faith is a matter of no small importance.  And thus Walton has his prism through which to explore an intersection of science, faith, and magic.

And what results is spectacular.  Walton has a great concept and is an obviously talented writer.  The pacing is steady, fast, and packs in a story many writers would take a trilogy to tell.  The characters are well rounded and deeply flawed.

Quintessence has a self-published sequel, Quintessence Sky, which I haven’t read.

5/5 Stars.

About H.P.

Blogs on books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday (speculative fiction) and Hillbilly Highways (country noir and nonfiction).
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Review of Quintessence by David Walton

  1. Pingback: Quintessence by David Walton – Navigating Neverland

  2. Pingback: My Top 5 All-Time Steampunk Stories | Every Day Should Be Tuesday

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