I am a sucker for any book with a map inside (because I am a nerd, surprise!), and not only does Oron not disappoint in that regard, but the map is followed by a 10 page prologue that goes into more depth than I ever thought I would need… need to read Oron.
The faux-Frazetta cover never gave me the impression that I would require a serious lesson on the history and political workings of Attluma (Atlantis, but without super technology, and big enough to have analogues to most major cultures and every kind of climate) to appreciate the book. Naturally, I have yet to see if the information is pertinent, but it’s nice to see that Smith, who is so ensconced in the blood-and-guts bluntness of sword and sorcery, is willing to take a few minutes to get his Tolkien on. I am impressed, and when I get to the 10 pages of gore and repetitions of the name “Oron” that start the first chapter, I will know that there’s a little something extra to look forward to. Maybe.
It’s hard to get an audience interested in your world before they’re given anything or anyone to care about in it, and maybe the prologue shouldn’t work… but I get the feeling that if you’re reading Oron at all–even if you’re not taking it seriously–this kinda shit is your bread and butter (not “bread and butter” as in the way you make your living, but as in the thing you love uncontrollably, because bread and butter is awesome).