Review: S. C. Eston, The Conclave

If you love the fantasy genre, revel in stories of mystic deeds and enjoy the verbal sparring of well-crafted characters, you will like reading The Conclave by S. C. Eston (2018). I recently attended a reading by the author; I was introduced to his writing when I won his first book Burden of the Protector at an Odd Sundays book draw a couple of years ago. As the writer explains, the characters, setting and plot for the book The Conclave are based on his years of participating in Dungeons and Dragons role playing.



Set in the fantasy World of Arvelas, the book tells the story of a gathering of wizards, warriors and heroes. The purpose of their secret meeting is to discover who betrayed them all in a recent struggle for power.


At first I wondered if a story based mostly on dialogue could engage a reader and provide the tension required for a satisfying read. The tale did not disappoint, however, as fragments of background were woven with brisk dialogue to create a compelling tale of rivalry, power and betrayal.


Although the book focusses on dialogue rather than action, the possible loyalties of the characters and the mingling of friends and former foes keep the tension high. My favourite characters are Theodoric (the Writer) and Hebsibia (the Wizzard), probably because they have lost their former powers and are, as a result, more vulnerable.


The Conclave includes Appendices to help the reader better understand the World of Arvelas. I particularly like the Calendar of months used in Arvelas; consider ‘the Deluge’, the first month of Fall! The Conclave is illustrated by Kirk Shannon. The charming black and white drawings are perfect for the genre, reminiscent of old style engravings.


My reading of The Conclave has inspired me to reread S. C. Eston’s earlier book The Burden of the Protector and to look forward to others by the same author.


Enjoy your reading!

Alexandra (a.k.a. Jane)

2 thoughts on “Review: S. C. Eston, The Conclave

  1. S.C. Eston February 1, 2019 / 3:52 am

    Hi Jane,
    thank you so much for taking the time to read The Conclave and posting about it. I’m glad you liked the story and the format (which was risky, I admit).

    Also, thank you for sharing your favourite characters. I love both Theo and Hebsibia and like you said, they’ve gone through a lot. It was very interesting for me to explore Theo’s struggle through this story. I love the concept of the Writer, and how his power works, and am glad to hear that you seemed to have appreciated that as well.

    If you are interested, you can check out “Zanathu”, a short story available for download on my website (here: It is not directly related to “The Conclave”, but it is set in the world of Arvelas as well.

    For your information, I have a few more short stories in development in this setting and am working on a huge epic story, which will most likely come out in a few years. You can follow my progress on my website as well.

    Once again, thank you. And let me know how you enjoyed “The Burden of the Protector” if you decide to re-read it.


    Liked by 1 person

    • jane tims February 8, 2019 / 6:42 pm

      Hi Steve. I will check out ‘Zanathu’ and review ‘The Burden of the Protector’ when I re-read it. Our characters live for both writer and reader … one of the joys of knowing books! Jane


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