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  • review by Lisa May Young

White Light Red Fire: book review

“The skies were filled with unreal fire; blue, burnt with amber, red, orange and yellow. This fire was no natural thing. It clawed across the sky, and below it all life shivered and retreated. The land lay scorched, the mountains and glens trembling.”

And so, with vivid description and fervent prose, begins Robert Reid’s debut novel White Light Red Fire. The story, set within the third age on the island of Andore, begins with the ambition of Oien, an ancient alchemist, who forges an alliance with the tyrant King Dewar to overpower the northern land of Bala to harvest its othium. The power to resist is gifted to one man, Alastair Munro, a farmer from humble beginnings. The only man who can supress the red fire.

White Light Red Fire, fifteen years in the making, is inspired by the Scottish Wars of Independence in the 1300s and heralding from the border town of Hawick, Reid’s vibrant love of history shines within his fictional world of Andore.

The main character, Alastair Munro, could be well be described as a warrior poet with dialogue that’s both heartfelt and succinct and you can’t help but appreciate the meditative intent of Reid within its delivery. Battle scenes are well researched and authentic with a detailed approach to historical research undertaken by Reid to the point where scenes play out easily in your head. Within this story you yearn for what is to come.

Featuring a cast of intriguing and interesting characters to support Munro in his defence of Bala. The inclusion of the character of land is featured in the story hinted by the richness of the map at the beginning of the book. Each individual community within Andore is marked by distinct character and you feel like you’re met another person as they are introduced. Within the imagination of the reader, the story is bright, visual and vivacious and I’m curious as to how this would manifest on screen or if the whole geography of the map will be featured in further stories.

If you’re looking for another world to occupy the gap left by the Seven Kingdoms of Game of Thrones I can’t recommend a better place to visit than the island of Andore. White Light Red Fire is a heady, consuming and inspiring blend of history, fantasy and folklore and is homage to the dedication and inspired storytelling of Robert Reid. Pick up a copy and prepare to commence battle.

Robert Reid will be interviewed on K107 by Lisa May Young on Wednesday, 10th July 2019 at 12pm.

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