Brother Mendell isn’t someone you’d expect to see helping a pirate. After all, he’s a monk who follows a god named Lord Justice, and pirates certainly deserve punishment. As a corrupt military deals death to pirates using questionable methods, Mendell finds himself caught in the crossfire when he seeks justice for an unfairly executed prisoner.
No one is safe as Admiral Cain and his ruthless assistant Krell struggle to maintain complete secrecy over their plan. Their goal isn’t merely to rid Caldaria of pirates; they have much loftier ambitions. Anyone with too much knowledge must die.
Mendell struggles to unravel the mystery before he, too, becomes a casualty of The Caldarian Conflict.
The sky is blue, the sea air is crisp, and the public executions bring to justice the wrong doers and keep peace amongst the people. Or so it would seem in the city of Caldaria. But that is only the surface. Underneath boils the deceit of corrupt leaders who use vicious means to reach a bitterly self-serving end. Only one thing stands in their way. A humble yet courageous monk name Mendell.
When I first started reading Mike Kalmbach’s The Caldarian Conflict, I was a little off put by the prelude and it’s description of a boat that can magically come apart and have it’s helm float above itself. However, upon the introduction of Mendell, the book’s central character, I was hooked. Through his eyes, I was able to stay entranced in the story and never again did I question its validity.
Bearing a slight resemblance to the main character in the PBS series Cadfael, Mendell allows us to see this story from a unique perspective. As an inquisitive monk, Mendell honestly guides the reader through his adventures. At times, he even poses philosophical questions that took me by surprise. I admit that I did not expect to find such deep thinking in this book. To go along with that, were Mendell’s explanations of religion and faith, which I took as profound.
Mike Kalmbach weaves a fascinating tale that is intelligent and well thought through. His descriptive words painted a vivid picture that I didn’t soon forget. I’ll admit that at times I was hoping Mendell was going to turn out to be some sort of secret ninja monk who carried a small armory under all his robes and could deftly dispense with any hindrance he encountered. However, if that had been the case he would have lost his charm and his humanity, and ultimately the book would have been about nothing more than another clichéd badass who can do things no other living person is able to.
The Caldarian Conflict is a wonderful book. The main character Mendell is elegantly written and the story is unique and unexpected. I found myself taking extra long breaks at work just to eek out a few more pages. I greatly look forward to reading a much anticipated and demanded sequel.