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(COLUMN) Rice: Just Another Gal from Casper – Reading ‘Group Six and the River: Of Water and Brimstone’

Kate Rice


It’s taken me years to understand that, while I claim to dislike Sci-Fi, what I’ve really meant all along is Sci-Fi’s cool, but I’m not a fan of Fantasy. 

That being said, a friend of mine’s written a Fantasy novel (with more books to come). I’m all about reading things my friends have written, so I delved into Ron Richard’s Group Six and the River: Of Water and Brimstone.

This adventure’s extremely well-written and entertaining. Just “sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, the tale of a fateful trip” — only unlike the Gilligan’s Island crew, there were only five passengers setting sail aboard their “tiny ship” — a magical ship, at that. 

The mysterious (and taciturn) fellow known as Leader brings Serena, Warrior “Princess” together with three magicians: powerful and good-natured Tresado, clever (and he knows it) Foxx (that’s with two exes) and gentle Orchid. They each have their reasons for traveling upriver to meet with a rumored all-powerful magician (kinda like the Wizard of Oz). While the magicians are pursuing things to do with magic and adventure, Serena’s quest is a bit more personal. She’s mighty miffed after becoming one with a diamond (literally — she wakes one morning and it’s embedded in her chest). The symbiotic diamond causes everyone to become infatuated with her — a huge problem for a warrior

Turns out, the quest they embark on isn’t what they expected. They encounter booger birds (mmmm — delicious!), wrinkled pygmies (with darts…lots and lots of darts), the possessions of Dementus, and the Mad Treskan, and discover that “Dinday Night’s Alright (for Fighting).” Do they get their hearts’ desires? Heck, do they all even survive

While perusing others’ reviews, it seems some folks have an issue with the story moving back and forth between different time periods. It wasn’t an issue for me: The author tells you when you are at all times, so I was never confused. I enjoyed getting to know more about the characters and this world through flashbacks. 

I also saw someone complain about a lack of “setting descriptions” or “expectations of the world.” That’s because the author thankfully chooses to weave these things into the story itself. There’s nothing worse than having to read a tutorial on what’s being presented. I was able to visualize this world as the story unfolds. Besides, there’s a map and list of the characters at the front of the book and a lexicon at the back (with the physical book, anyway) so even someone as unfamiliar with fantasy as myself had no trouble picturing the highly creative settings/world.

If you’re into D&D, Fantasy, or just really good storytelling, download the eBook, or even better, stop in to Wind City Books for a copy of Ron Richard’s Group Six and the River: Of Water and Brimstone. While you’re there, see what other great reads Wind City Books has to offer for your cooler-weather entertainment. I’m super behind on my Young Adult Mystery/Suspense books, and there are some really great nonfiction historical and contemporary stories I’m ready to dive into as well. No matter your genre, Wind City Books’ll keep you reading year-round. 

(Kate Rice)