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Randal Doering has a B.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State University and an M.A. in anthropology from Cal State East Bay. He wrote Zahid’s Tale in San Francisco and edited it while living in Cairo, Egypt, from where it picked up bits of local flavor. This year of editing and revising was notable for the chance to read books of Middle Eastern folktales and stories at the wonderful Cairo cafes, where you can have a cold drink on a scorching hot day and smoke the water pipe for hours. The book was then workshopped with several readers, whose comments were useful in cutting out the flab and strengthening the overall work. Randal has published over a dozen short stories in small magazines and web-based ‘zines; Zahid’s Tale is his first foray into self-publishing.
on Feb. 26, 2012 :
Zahid's Tale is a sure bet for lovers of high or epic fantasy. Doering has crafted a detailed world in which the energy and emotions of memory power the forces of magic.
Zahid is a wizard whose desire for a more pastoral life led him away from the Academy where he'd spent the majority of his life studying magic. He has a new wife and home in a small village, and is respected by the community. Zahid and his wife wish to start a family, but a recent raid on the village has cast doubts in his mind regarding his ability to defend the family he desires.
The Academy draws Zahid reluctantly back, with the help of a precocious friend, Kalan, and the promise of enough power to keep his family safe from harm in the future.
The story is alive with magic, friendship, political intrigue, and action. Doering has written characters full of life and complexity that draw the reader in to the experience. His writing style is smooth and detailed, bringing each scene into sharp focus. I look forward to more work from him in the future!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)