The Crannog Saga doesn’t shy away from fantasy tropes, wearing its influences on its sleeves. But it cherry picks elements that are arguably the best things about the genre, creating a modern mixture of incantations and intrigue, along with an attitude to violence that gives it an adult edge. This leaves it slap bang in the middle of J. R. R. Tolkien and George R. R. Martin, which is no bad place for a fantasy saga to sit.
The story is set in a fairly standard fantasy world, filled with the usual collection of finely balanced alliances and power-hungry rulers. It’s a mostly human world, though monsters lurk in the shadows, necromancers hide in caves, and there’s a few non-human humanoid species kicking around, even if they aren’t all that common.
Most of the action occurs around a city, which has been split into two by an earthquake. What was once a unified city state is now fractured and on the brink of war. However, a prophecy unfolds that suggests this needn’t necessarily be so.
One of the best things about The Crannog Saga is that nothing is as it first seems. As the pages turn, dark magic snakes its way through the plot, and Machiavellian manipulators are, in turn, being manipulated by even darker forces. Meanwhile, a girl is trying to save her sister, though even she seems unable to escape a magical destiny that’s both protecting her but possibly also forcing her along a particular path.
Both story and art have been produced by Patrik Magnerius, who has clearly put his heart and soul into the comic, which he’s publishing independently through Amazon and his website. The art is good and carries the story along at a pace, but Magnerius isn’t in the same league as the very best fantasy artists in comics. Still, it has sparks of brilliance, and Magnerius carries the standard through more than 100 pages, which is clearly no mean feat.
The story is currently unfinished, so I can’t give you a full recommendation, though you can buy the first four books (eight chapters), which is what I’ve reviewed here. Certainly, if you like a traditional fantasy story, with a hero’s journey running through it, and politics and dark magic infiltrating the plot’s backdrop, then this is a rewarding read. It’s not the glossiest, slickest fantasy comic you’ll ever see, but it’s a heartfelt love letter to the genre, crafted with care, and is certain to satiate the desires of any fantasy fan looking for a new world to explore.