Path of Fire

Ralph Vardis
Damnation Books, LLC (2012)
ISBN 9781615728190

Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (1/13)

Article first published as Book Review: Path of Fire by Ralph Vardis on Blogcritics.

“Path of Fire” by Ralph Vardis is a different type of supernatural story because the talismans of power are ancient tarot cards, and Native American folklore plays a strong role in the story of good versus evil.

The hero of the story, Dr. Paul Prophet, is a long way from being a saint. He’s an average guy that likes his liquor just a little too much, and he’s enjoyed the sweet taste of revenge in the past when nobody else was able to right a wrong that had been done to him.

Despite being less than angelic, Paul is destined to become the Fire Walker, a warrior that walks the line between good and evil so that Light can win over Dark. His path isn’t an easy one, and the subject matter might be a little sensitive for some readers because the victims that suffer at the hands of Evil are children. However, the fates that befall the children are never described in gory detail and there’s relatively little blood spilled because most of the battles take place on various spiritual planes, where the spirits of children are simply imprisoned by dark forces.

The villain of the story, who coincidentally happens to be another doctor, is an interesting character, and I actually wish more time had been spent developing his character. He hungers for power and knows that children must be sacrificed in order to obtain that power, but he initially follows a simple moral code to justify his actions; sacrificing children that have already been injured in such a way that there lives will consist of nothing more than laying in a hospital bed while hooked up to life support.

The history of the tarot cards and the various mystic places around Green Bay, Wisconsin, are explained in detail, but never in a way that seems dry or boring. Instead, the author has managed to make these historic details an integral part of the story.

Paul is the type of character that’s easy for readers to relate to because of how normal he is, and being the Fire Walker doesn’t diminish his humanity at all, and it’s very easy to get lost within the pages of “Path of Fire” by Ralph Vardis and root for the hero as the war against Darkness begins.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the Fire Walker’s adventure because a bit of foreshadowing at the end in regards to a particular character promises an exciting adventure in the next book.

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