This epic fantasy of good and evil is the first in a trilogy. "Seekers of the Chalice" is Brian Cullen's debut novel and his intricate world is rich with Celtic mythology and vivid description. But the magical adventure is based on a formulaic plot that's been done and done again - a perilous quest to recover an artifact that will bring peace to the world.
The Chalice of Fire, a symbol of peace in Ulster, and one of the five treasures of the Tuatha De Danann, brings peace and immortality to the worthy who drink from it. It's stolen from the Red Branch by Bricriu Poisontongue and a band of seekers sets out to get it back. Cumac, son of Cucullen, the greatest Red Branch warrior, is joined by Fedelm of the Sidhe, Tarin, the Swordwanderer, and the wizard-druid, Seanchan. An evil wizard, Maliman, wants the chalice for himself and he uses every means and creature of darkness to thwart their quest.
The book is based on an interesting concept - the traditional Celtic myth Tain Bo Cuailnge. As much as I wanted to like it, there were several flaws that made it only a so-so read for me. The story gets off to a slow start and the characters are colorful but cliche. Those who enjoy quest fantasy and Tolkien's works may find this novel entertaining. But the plot is repetitive, with one battle after another against creatures of the dark - vampires, werewolves, goblins. The seekers don't get very far in this book. If you make it to the end the cliffhanger may entice you to read book two.
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (February 3, 2009)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages