This is an amazing book. Larry Ivkovich describes The Sixth Precept as an urban fantasy – and it certainly is in the sense that it is a fantasy and quite a bit of the adventure is set in a modern day US city – but a lot of the adventure is also set in medieval Japan. And stuff happens there. Yes, it is an urban fantasy, but it doesn't deserve simple labeling. For example, it has a neat, convincing detective story feel about it as well.
I'm raving – and probably because this fantasy adventure has everything, all in the right proportions.
I wont give too much away of the plot, as it would be a spoiler indeed, but I can say that the key storyline is about a woman in
medieval Japan with an amazing psychic gift, who is playing a key part in a great cosmic 'game', who sends the young girl she is protecting, through a rift into the future. That's just the beginning, when it comes to time travel as well as strange and miraculous people and creatures. I simplify this, because the most powerful feature of Larry's writing is the smoothness of the plot and the sustaining of adventure and entertainment. It is complex, but not distracting.
I normally am not a fan of time travel stories (although I should point out that time travel is not necessarily the sole, core element of
this novel), as I often find authors handling paradox particularly badly. For me, the best time travel stories enable travel into the
future, but impossible to travel backwards. However, there are a select few authors for me who handle forward and backward time journeying with flair – beautifully enabling the reader to suspend disbelief. Larry is one such author.
Another feature of the book that I liked was the treatment of some of the antagonists. They are complex. They are not necessarily black and white in the depiction of evil (with one deserved exception). The bestial creature who is supposed to hunt down the protagonists in modern day is an example of such a complex figure – while hated and dreadful in many ways, there are moments of sympathy as well. It makes the book memorable.
Larry Ivkovich's debut novel is way more polished and mature than a typical first work. I would strongly advise any fantasy reader –
especially paranormal and urban fantasy readers – to buy and enjoy this 5 star piece.