When I received another manuscript to proofread, my first thought was: no, not another fantasy novel! I really am not fond of fantasy books. I remember starting in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings - a long time ago - and closing the book after having struggled through the first three pages. Nothing for me.
So I began with dread into this book. But hey, I managed to get through the first pages and before I knew it, I was drawn into the story.
This is the second novel in a series. I did not read the first one, but it was the story was easy to follow even when you hadn't read the first installment. It's the story of Daniel Marten who believes himself to be the Prophesied One and tries to keep his beloved Naphthali from danger. Naturally it's filled with fantasy elements but they are quite believable. Having crossed the Burning Sea, Daniell now meets the Tene'breon, a people very close to nature and its forces, like the Weave. He is looking for their help in going back to Naphthali, where a new governor brought a reign of terror.
I quickly read through the book, wanting to find out how Daniel fared and if he would succeed in his task. I am now more than eager to read the first book as well, and of course I'm looking out for the next one.
This book gets a five star rating!
Here's an excerpt:
The four burst into the room. Bastion let Daniel go and he stumbled several feet forward before catching himself. He sensed Broken Bow and Meadow Song move off in opposite directions, and heard the door snick quietly closed behind them. Waves of agony rolled up Daniel's arm. He bent over at the waist, trying to control a grunt of pain. He saw stars and had time to think, I'm going to pass out, before the voice, filled with power, spoke. "Who are you?"
Daniel gasped and pulled in a lungful of air, forcing down the agony. Still bent over at the waist, he snapped his eyes forward, to where another man just entered the room from the opposite side. He was at least six and a half feet tall, his head wreathed in wavy brown hair. He wore silk robes, beneath which muscles bulged and tensed as he studied Daniel, his bright eyes narrowing. It had to be Bertolli.
Daniel forced himself to stand upright. "I…" was all he got out before everyone reacted on reflexes alone.
The man cut him off, bellowing, "Guards!" He started to take a step forward, but then sensed movement to his right. He spun to his left just before Broken Bow's great sword made a low whistle as it sailed through the air where he'd been standing. Without even realizing he was doing it, Daniel pulled his throwing knife and let fly. The large man was too fast, though, prancing back the other way before the blade reached him. He reached around his waist and launched all three throwing daggers in rapid succession, but the man merely knocked the small blades away with the backs of his hands.
Behind him, Daniel heard guards slam into the door, but Bastion was able to push it back and hold them out, at least momentarily. Bertolli spun away from another unseen attack by Broken Bow and froze, reversing course at the last moment. He ripped a dagger from his belt as he did so and whipped around again, aiming low. He led with the blade until it stopped, seemingly in midair. What Daniel heard next made his blood run cold.
Meadow Song cried out and the air shimmered before the big man. In seconds, she was visible, impaled through the stomach. "No," Daniel cried as he darted forward, reaching for the A-blade. Meadow Song's eyes were wide in surprise as her robes stained scarlet around the dagger. Bertolli's face was transformed into a savage grimace of triumph, until he saw his victim. The beauty there made him pause, but only for a moment.
Daniel and his friends froze when Meadow Song cried out. Before anyone could react, Bertolli spun behind her. He pulled the dagger free as he went, wrapping his left arm around her bosom. Meadow Song whimpered when the slow stain on her robes became a torrent as the cloth soaked through. He pulled the bloody blade up to her throat and roared, "Halt! Show yourselves or she dies."
Daniel's suddenly nerveless fingers fell from the A-blade. "No, don't! We'll stop."
The air shimmered right beside the big man as Broken Bow came into view, holding his great sword at the ready. Behind Daniel, he heard the door give way and soldiers rush in. In seconds he felt a sharp blade poking him in the back, and knew Bastion stood down as well. He couldn't take his eyes off Meadow Song's pain-filled face as he heard the heavy thud of a club hitting flesh, then Bastion was shoved off to the side, a large welt forming above his left eye.
"Drop your weapons," Bertolli growled, poking the tip of his dagger under Meadow Song's chin.
With leaden fingers Daniel pulled the A-blade from its sheath and dropped it to the stone floor with a clang. A distant part of his mind registered the dagger Bertolli held had a broad short blade and wide pommel, not the Blade of Endar. Well, at least there was that. He raised his left hand in a placating gesture as Broken Bow's sword hit the floor as well. "Okay. We've done it, please just let her go."
Bertolli didn't move the dagger from Meadow Song's chin. Daniel could see beads of sweat forming on her brow, and a small line of blood trickled down her neck. She was shaking, her eyes rolling back in her head. His eyes bore into Daniel's as he growled, "Remove your hood."
Daniel's attention was on Meadow Song, so he didn't immediately obey Bertolli's command. Fire burned in the governor's eyes as he glared at Daniel. He jabbed the dagger up slightly and at the same time the guard behind Daniel pressed forward with his sword, splitting Daniel's robes and skin. He barked in pain and stumbled forward. "Alright." Blood trickled down his back as he reached up and pulled back the hood.
Bertolli's hard glare softened in momentary surprise when he saw Daniel's scars. His eyes shot down to Daniel's right arm, which was still sheathed within his robes. Even though Bertolli couldn't see it, Daniel saw the recognition in his eyes, the knowledge Daniel had been maimed like so many of his victims.
On sale from Rogue Phoenix Press and online booksellers.