The Tainted Hive


Loved it! 😍

An exciting high fantasy novel full of mystery and colourful characters. Will they ever be able to work together and find out the truth?

The Tainted Hive is a high fantasy novel created by author Alan Salt. During the story we follow the journey of four protagonists: Carmen, a forest elf and keen guide; Nil, a human soldier and former town guard; Rub, a dwarf cleric loyal to the church; and Paja, a trick – a highly intelligent Halfling-like creature whose magic and silver tongue makes him an ideal negotiator. They have been hired by the Baker’s Guild to investigate the contamination of the previous year’s batch of honey and ensure such a thing does not happen again.

The four characters all have distinctive personalities which often leave them at odds with one another. As a reader it was rewarding to go on the journey with them and watch as they slowly learnt to work together and trust one another. This change happened gradually as the story progressed and as a result the bonds the characters (in some cases reluctantly) formed felt very natural and believable.

A key storytelling component used in The Tainted Hive is flashbacks. The story is split between the present day and moments in the past which show why our four characters all ended up volunteering for the mission. Chapters typically contain one or two flashbacks within them and these are clearly marked on the page. While a narrative that jumps around in time and between different characters' perspectives won’t appeal to everyone, I personally found them entertaining. The flashbacks and the extra information they revealed kept the story moving along at a good pace. The combination of the past and present meant that there was always something happening so the story never felt as though it was slowing down.

My favourite characters are Carmen and Nil. I was always excited when I reached one of their flashback scenes. I believe that both of their stories were the most successful in expanding the wider world in which The Tainted Hive is set. Carmen’s flashbacks provided magic and mystery as the reader discovered more about her childhood in the forest, while Nil’s flashbacks offered a tough but engaging look at what can be like for the average person living a powerful, hierarchal city.

Although it did take me a couple of chapters to properly get into the story and understand this new fantasy world and its characters, I quickly realised that I wouldn’t be satisfied until I finished The Tainted Hive and found out the answers to all of the secrets and mysteries we are teased with throughout the story. 

Reviewed by

I have always been fascinated with fiction, especially fantasy and sci-fi. In 2020 I set up my own website called: Lair of Reviews where I publish reviews on books, films, and plays. I have degrees in both English Literature and Creative Writing. I currently work as a freelance writer.


About the author

Alan Salt is a Substance Abuse Nurse Practitioner who lives in a postcard town in Western Massachusetts. He would like to recommend, if at all possible, that you not use heroin. view profile

Published on December 15, 2020

Published by

110000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by