Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: Gravedigger by Michael-Israel Jarvis

Spade and Sorcery as Gravedigger Hits the Shelves
Booktrope Publishing releases Gravedigger by Michael-Israel Jarvis

Gravedigger has previously been released through Amazon by Michael-Israel Jarvis, prior to his acceptance into international new model publisher Booktrope, who are a growing publishing community based in Seattle WA. Michael-Israel lives and works in Norfolk, England, and will be publishing further novels through Booktrope in coming months.

by Michael-Israel Jarvis
Booktrope Editions
YA Fantasy
332 pages

Dead or alive. Good or evil. Hero or fugitive.
Valo needs a specific solution to a grave problem. The human Claimfold and prigon Torzsi draw apart. War is promised in the West. Worst of all, the magi of Nagyevo are meddling with the dead.
Perin is an apprentice Gravedigger: uneducated, unwanted, unsure. He may be the answer Valo needs, if he doesn't get killed before he works out what's going on. But of course there's the chance that fate hasn't called him after all. The gods are nameless and silent and the best laid plans have a way of going badly wrong.
Enter the spade and sorcery world of Valo.

Gravedigger subverts the expectations of that oldest of foes in fantasy, the dead that walk, in a fast-paced adventure through a world of culture, intrigue, magic and blood.

From the very first page, this story thrusts the reader into a vivid world of danger, adventure and true heroes.

Perin is a teenage boy with a job most people shun--he's an apprentice gravedigger. His master is kind, but friends and acceptance are words he's never known. Still, he's got a good heart and holds no grudges. He's the kind of character which finds a soft spot in the heart and refuses to let go. Especially when an odd duo steps into the graveyard, and Perin's hidden potential of bravery and heroism begin to shine through.

The scenes in this are masterfully described, making it simple to slide right into Perin's world and breathe it in along with him. It's a fantasy world but has the familiarity (at first) of a historic town, allowing the characters to shine through before the more fantastic creatures and plot get underway. Which was good because this plot does race off and grow in complexity as the story thickens.

In many ways, this is a coming of age tale. Perin progresses from a naive teen into an incredible man as a twist of fate takes him on a journey which molds him in ways a reader could never suspect. He makes mistakes, but never in a way that is frustrating. Instead, it's a joy to cheer him on as he picks himself back up to do what he must to help those around him...even if he's not sure he really has a chance to succeed or knows what he's doing. The characters around him round it off, giving the story the right amount of color and depth.

This is a packed 330 pages, not letting up on tension until the last page. The intrigue, lies, and secrets of a country about to fall into chaos are expertly woven with magic, mages, gods and the undead, creating an exhilarating ride. Despite all of the layers, it was simple and mostly logical to follow. Only the very last couple of pages hiccuped a little, leaving the last death a bit skimmed over.

Summed up: This is a sheer delight for fantasy fans. The writing pulls flawlessly into a fantastic world with a heroes not easy to part with. . .which I'm hoping we won't have to yet.

Book Buzz. . .

“His storytelling is impeccable. I have no doubt Gravedigger only scratches the surface of what he has in store for us.” —Tom Barczak, author of the Prophecy of the Evarun series of fantasy novels. 

“Masterful world-building from a rising talent – Perin is the most iconic fantasy protagonist since Bilbo Baggins.” – J. G. Clay, author of Tales of Blood and Sulphur

And here he is. . .

Michael-Israel Jarvis blogs at where it is possible to find more information on his books. He is an alumnus of the University of Northampton, where he received a First in Creative Writing.

More information on Booktrope’s Team Publishing model is available at

For review copies and author interview requests, please contact the author’s book manager, Dane Cobain, on or (+44) 7885 587738.

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