Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing
Author: Michael J. Synnott
Overall Review: 4/5 – Very Good
Michael J. Synnott has had a rich career; he was a technical writer for many computer industry magazines, a voice-over artist, radio presenter, and touring rock musician before he decided to become a full time writer. Growing up in Ireland was the perfect start for a man writing about fantasy and his first installment of the Tir Saga looks to be of great interest due to several aspects already in the story.
The story of The Magus Conspiracy surrounds the disappearance of main character Mark’s father. He has no idea where he has got to, or why he left. He isn’t without any clues as to where he might be though, as a series of coded messages cause Mark to decipher the password to further clues that lead to his father’s disappearance. There are other things that could give him a promising lead as to where he might be, but it’s the cube he discovers that could be the true answer to why he is missing.
This book is a code-breaker’s dream and a puzzler’s delight. The cube itself might remind readers of the device from Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart, and though this cube has its differences, it still holds a sinister feel to it despite being of an unassuming appearance. Mark has also found clues to the box in an old comic his father had left, while Niamh and Ferdia help him out with finding more. The story’s pacing is just right as Mark finds out his father’s secrets, and even his friends discover other parts of the puzzle when he is frustrated or can’t. There is an Indiana Jones appeal to this story as the cube they have found is one of many, so finding the others uncovers more of a plot and a reason to read it from cover to cover. Every clue points to a conspiracy, and if they crack it, then there is the possibility that Mark’s father might still be alive.
As this book is one of a trilogy, this first novel sets off explaining the first two cubes and how they fit into the conspiracy, but also the codes from the cube, the poems from the two cubes and the reality of the Magus Conspiracy. There is the distinct possibility that this might be the modern day equivalent of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings – either way, Michael J. Synnott has produced an epic start to a trilogy that could last. I look forward to reading Tir 2 – The Lebor Stara.