Disillusioned, now derided as the 'Butcher of Bellic', war hero Martil leaves his beloved homeland in search of peace. Set upon by bandits, he is tricked into taking a small child, Karia, to her uncle. But the village has been gutted of its people, except for one ex-bandit who has the Dragon Sword - a magical relic belonging to the rulers of Norstalos.
Now Martil and Karia find themselves swept up in the struggle for a country. Norstalos's first-ever queen is trying to keep her crown while her cousin, Duke Gello, wants it and is prepared to do anything, even make a deal with dark powers, to get it. Martil finds himself caring for a child, fighting for a queen and discovering that even a magical sword is no guarantee of victory.
This is an excellent fantasy thriller. The action and drama takes place on the mythical continent of Albiona. Thi author brings his charactors to life beautifully, from the haunted hero, the incorrigible thief, the snobby queen, the scheming duke and the love-smitten magician. I loved them all, but most of all the insecure and honest 6 year old.
I was so taken with this book that once I read it, I couldn't stop thinking about it and had to take the book up again and read it all over once more. Fantastic! This book is a must for those of us who enjoy such authors as Raymond E Feist, Mercedes Lackie and Janny Wurts, to name but a few.
A good point about this book is that it can be read by all ages, both boys and girls, for the readers in us just have to turn the next page to see how the story unfolds. I am very much looking forward to book #2 in the series, and they will be going on my bookshelves to be read again... and again... but I am disappointed to discover that I will have to wait until early 2010 to get my next installment... I want it now! I need my fantasy fix!
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