Roger Taylor is a fine author, and The Chronicles of Hawklan is probably the most underrated fantasy series going around. The books have the authentic mood and classic style of high fantasy, but manage frequent bursts of originality.
The series abounds with intrigue, battles, strange creatures, magic, even a Dark Lord. But there’s not an elf or dwarf in sight. It’s a potent mix of genre cliches and new perspectives. Best of all, the story has a thread of philosophy running through it. This serves to unify the whole thing, to give it backbone and (at the same time) subtle grace. That’s a masterful achievement.
Perhaps one of the reasons the books never broke out on a massive scale is that they’re patchy. It’s almost like they were written at different stages over a long career, although they were published close together. This patchiness exists in some of the subsequent standalone novels, too.
I’m willing to forgive an author a bit of patchiness. Even Shakespeare had off moments. The main thing (for me at least) is that a book should take me into another world, thrill me, move me, make me think, make me want to linger even when the last page is turned. Roger Taylor does that, so I salute him. It’s no easy task.
Perhaps some of his later standalone books are better written. However, most readers of epic and high fantasy hanker after a series, preferably a long one. His finest work might well be Arash-Felloren or Farnor. Farnor is a two book series and also serves as an entry point into the world of Hawklan.
At any rate, I don’t mind giving a shout out for an author who provided me with some great reading over many years. In fact, I think I might dust of my old paperback copies (already read multiple times) and immerse myself once more. To me, books that can be kept, treasured and reread, are the telltale mark of a great author.