Scion of the Dark Moon takes place on Terralis, a place much different from Earth where humans fight for survival in a unique world populated with several diverse species. While there are historical hints in the book that point to a science-fiction connection (humans arrived on Terralis via space travel -- but were marooned, along with intelligent "canids" that seem to be genetically engineered dogs) the civilizations are solidly medieval-based in the timeframe of the book. The world is extensive and very realistic. Place names and legends are mentioned throughout the book to make the cultures feel old and solid.
There are no "elves" or "dwarves" on Terralis. There are "goblins" but these creatures are unlike any goblin previously put forward in the genre. They are devious, smart, practice a religion that revolves around necromancy and demonology, and are the other dominant race on the planet. In fact, the most powerful empire belongs to them. They are the main antagonists, though a number of humans also put in a show for humanity's darker side.
There are a number of aspects that set this book apart from others in the genre, other than the unique and fascinating world and history. One is the grittiness of the plot and descriptions. There are no punches pulled when the author describes things, and this book is not meant for young children.
Secondly, the protagonists are very diverse and interesting. The main hero, Bryn, may be fairly standard hero-stock, but he is accompanied by a wide array of very different characters: a sorceress that seems to be a magnet for bad luck (her two mentors meet violent deaths), an intelligent canid that he has a psychic bond with, a tutor with a very mysterious past, and an alluring thief who liberally expresses her emotions and "lives on the edge."
Another breath of fresh air is the way the antagonists are portrayed. Sure, there are the typical selfish or just plain "evil" bad-guys, but others are quite complex. The main antagonist, for example, is a goblin skinshaper necromancer who honestly believes he is fighting the "scourge" of humanity, and views himself as a patriot at the start of the book. By the end, he grows to believe his own leaders fear his abilities and may turn on him rather than trust that same patriotism. It is an interesting dichotomy, and very realistic.
Scion of the Dark Moon is the first in the Terralis Legacy series, released in January 2007. The second book is due out in 2008, according to the author's Web site.
To learn more, there is a great Web site at www.terralislegacy.com with more detailed info, and the book can be found on www.amazon.com.