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on Aug. 03, 2012 :
I always hope, when I'm reading small press/self e-published stuff, that I'm going to find stories that are great stories but not going to be commercially released because they're too idiosyncratic to fit into a publisher's framework, and that's exactly what the Eternal Dungeon stories are. They're complicated and thoughtful stories about sadists coping with social change, and I have enjoyed spending the last week reading them.
I will also note, for folks who are as gore-averse as I am, that although this is a series about torturers they're not what I'd call torture-porn -- the characters are thinking about the morality of what they're doing, and their reactions to what they're doing (indeed, sometimes they think about it in more detail than I think they really need to....)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Dec. 28, 2011 :
I grabbed this book as a 'free read' since my past experiences with pick the price have resulted in paying for books that were poorly written with no editing, weak (or worse, no) plots, and characters who were two dimensional if I was lucky!
Boy, was I surprised! Reading The Eternal Dungeon was like taking a walk back into an alternative history that could have actually happened. I can not imagine the amount of research that has gone into this novel but it is clear that Peterson did his homework for the world he created for his characters. Characters, which I might add, that you will fall in love with. You will feel their joy and their pain as Peterson takes you through the in-depth plot of The Eternal Dungeon.
I was so impressed by Peterson that I was disappointed there was no way to come back here to smashwords and actually pay him for his work. So, I did the next best thing... found him online and sent him some $ through paypal. This book is worth more than the $10 I sent him (and if I could send more I would!) so, take my word and throw a few bucks into the 'pick your price' and save yourself the guilt you will feel later, once you realize this author deserved to be paid for this book :)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on March 27, 2011 :
A good book, set in a fascinating world. I kept me interested right to the end, which left me a little dissatisfied, because its so dark and depressing. I hope the next book will be around soon.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
C S McClellan
on Jan. 14, 2011 :
The Eternal Dungeon is one of those rare series that draws you from story to story, leading you on with deeper insights into its characters, and plot twists that take you completely by surprise. The world that Peterson reveals has a sense of authenticity that makes you believe it could be real. It’s a world that’s teetering on the cusp of modern technology, but still tightly bound to the past. Victorian England comes to mind, though Peterson’s world is stranger and more violent.
Most of the stories take place in the Eternal Dungeon, an underground prison where the jailers are as much prisoners as are the men condemned to its cells. Torture, once used without limit to obtain confessions, is now a last resort. The goal of the Seekers, whose role was once that of torturers, is to help prisoners toward rebirth after death, by persuading them to confess their crimes.
The relationship between Seekers and prisoners is a complex one, bound by the rules in the Seekers’ “bible,” The Code of Seeking. The most important rule is that Seekers must be willing to suffer for the prisoners. The emphasis in The Eternal Dungeon is on transformation and redemption, and it isn’t only the prisoners who go through the psychological changes that can take them out of their personal darkness.
Reading these books will immerse you in a world like no other and leave you with the memory of characters who are, for the most part, neither completely good nor completely evil.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Nov. 12, 2010 :
I had given up on being truly surprised by fiction; I’m the type of person who can always see what’s coming, and usually that’s fine, I’m more of a “the journey’s more important than the destination” person. Then comes along The Eternal Dungeon, which has been one of the most surprising, satisfying, and enjoyable reads I’ve ever encountered.
Dusk Peterson has accomplished something incredible with this series. The reader is immersed seamlessly into another world filled with lush characters. The world building is intricately woven into the narrative, creating the framework of politics, religion, and culture that gives the story substance and the characters background. There are no “good” and “bad” characters, only complex characters. Yet all the twists and turns The Eternal Dungeon takes are believable because the characters are so authentic and the author stays true to their natures and personalities. In fact, after every revelation or twist in the story I was left thinking that I should have been able to see that coming because it seems after the fact that it was the only course of action the character could possibly have taken. The way the author writes the human mind is simply amazing, it is so honest in both its complexity and simplicity.
The author challenges readers by forcing them to see the story from different perspectives, both the perspectives of different characters taking part in the action, and the historical perspective that frames the entire series. At times it can be difficult to keep these characters straight. This is due to the fact that a character will be referenced by his last name, first name, and title and it can be confusing if the reader is not paying attention. Also, seemingly minor characters mentioned briefly in the beginning reappear with stronger roles later on and the further I got into the series I would find that I would occasionally have to glance back and brush up on who a character was when they reappeared.
A good book has me eagerly reading from chapter to chapter, a great book from paragraph to paragraph, and an extraordinary book from sentence to sentence. The Eternal Dungeon Omnibus is an extraordinary book that gets better with each subsequent reading. The characters that inhabit the Eternal Dungeon are some of the most captivating I’ve ever read. Dusk Peterson’s knack for tackling the complexity of the human mind and ability to thrust readers into an engaging foreign land is what makes this one of my all time favorite reads. I give it five stars and place Dusk Peterson firmly at the top of my list of authors to watch.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)