Book Review: ‘The King’s Traitor’ by Jeff Wheeler

Third in the KingFountain series, this book continues the story of Owen Kiskaddon and his life as A duke and advisor to King Severn of Ceredigion.  Once again, there is good continuity in the storyline and the central characters, with new complications and personalities entering the narrative as the plot develops. 

The story is beautifully told. The world building and characterisation are rich and complex, bringing the kingdoms and settings to life and populating them with engaging, relatable characters who the reader comes to know intimately.  Even those who belong to the upper echelons of society are shown to have very real concerns and inner conflicts with which they must wrestle. The ways in which different characters resolve those issues reflect the best and the worst of human nature, pitting good and evil against one another in a very personal way. 

As with the previous books in the series, there are connections between this story and the popularised version of the life and personality of Richard III which are clearly discernible, although this story focuses far more on Owen than it does on King Severn. The story maintains an original and unique plot that sets it apart from those events and distinguishes it as as an outstanding work of fantasy rather than historical fiction.  

This book and the series to which it belongs are most excellent, and will please all lovers of epic sword and sorcery fantasy books.    

Book Review: ‘Gates of Golorath’ by R. M. Garino

‘Gates of Golorath’ is book 1 of the ‘Chaos of Souls’ fantasy series by R.M. Garino. It is set in a world somewhere between earth and the realms of heaven and hell, populated by a variety of angelic races – fallen and otherwise – and various other races and monsters.

For the initiates at the Gates of Golorath, there is much to be learned and much to be gained— but there is also much that might be lost if they do not successfully overcome the challenges with which they are presented. In that sense, this is an epic coming of age story, but it is also one of complex relationships fraught with obstacles and difficulties that must be met and endured if friendships and romantic attachments are to survive. 

The characters are varied in terms of heritage, rank and personality, giving the reader a good sense of the social structures of the civilisation in which they live. The main characters, Arielle and Angus, are engaging and likeable, and although I did not always like the things they do, I did become quite invested in their story and the outcomes that awaited them.

This is a gradually-but-steadliy developed and very detailed story that will appeal more to dedicated fans of military fantasy adventure than to those who prefer sword and sorcery or pure magical fantasy, but it is an interesting and enjoyable story.

I enjoyed the action scenes and the banter between different characters, but what I appreciated most was the imagery and energy of the writing. While the world building and orientation at the beginning of the book might be a little slow in terms of story development, it is rich with powerful images and expressive writing that I found to be very appealing. 

‘Gates of Golorath’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here or visit the author’s website.

Book Review: ‘The Thief’s Daughter’ by Jeff Wheeler

Sequel to ‘The Queen’s Poisoner’ in the KingFountain series, this book continues the story of Owen Kiskaddon and his life as a one of King Severn’s most trusted advisors.

Many of the same central characters feature alongside some entirely new ones, who add new dimensions and qualities to the story.

Time has passed, naturally, and Owen has grown from the child hostage and stranger in the royal court into a man, rewarded with a Duchy for his loyalty, and charged with the duty of serving the king and protecting those closest to him. 

It is a magnificent and epic fantasy story, enriched with magic, deeply involving the reader in both the personal lives of the central characters the fate of the kingdom of Ceredigion, a kingdom that is richly and intricately detailed to the point where it seems real. The reader gains a deeper understanding of the complexities of the problems that face the king, fully aware as he is of the reasons why many distrust and fear him, yet also strongly motivated by his sincere love and concern for his kingdom and subjects. 

Although the connections between this story and the elements of English history during The Wars of the Roses, particularly the life and personality of Richard III, are clearly discernible, the story maintains an original and unique plot that sets it apart from those events and ensures its distinction as a fine work of fantasy rather than historical fiction.  

This book delivers a rich and deeply involving story that captivates the reader. It is difficult to put the book down once started, and as the momentum of the story builds, the story becomes even more compelling. It really is a most excellent read.    

The Thief’s Daughter has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Audiobook Review: ‘Fawkes’ by Nadine Brandes

Audiobook Review: ‘Fawkes’ by Nadine Brandes
#historicalfiction #magical #fantasy #Audiobooks #Audible

Find your copy on Kobo or Audible.

This is my favourite kind of story: history, magic, mystery, suspense, danger and choices that seem impossible to make. Superimposing a magical overlay onto real historical events made this book absolutely fascinating and gave it a very strong sense of originality and intrigue. The drama built slowly and steadily throughout each complication and challenge, drawing the reader deeper and more intricately into both Thomas’ life and challenges and the Gunpowder Plot itself. 

The main characters were well-rounded and likeable, even if it was not always possible to like or condone some of the things they felt compelled to do, and the problems they faced were well-designed and skilfully developed. The way in which the author breathed both life and magic into historical figures, events and places made them seem so real that the audience really does begin to feel as though they are there, looking over Thomas’ shoulder and equally as swept along by the action of the story as it unfolds as he is. 

Of course, part of the magic of this audiobook is the masterful narration by Oliver Hembrough, who excels at voice acting and storytelling. His performance combined with Brandes’ brilliant writing  to create an audiobook that is flawless in its delivery of this deeply intriguing tale. 
This beautifully crafted story completely captivated me. 

‘Fawkes’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Book Review: ‘Star Chaser: The Traveler: Beyond The Outer Rim’ by Reiter

An epic journey that no science-fiction fan will want to miss.

“Open your mind!” Dungias could imagine Thought pleading with him. “For I can do nothing with you while it is closed.

This quotation stayed with me throughout my reading of this fascinating and complex science-fiction novel which engages the reader quickly and effectively. An open mind and willingness to think beyond oneself is the key to the characters in this book being portrayed as positive or negative, and as likeable or not. 

Not only is the story original and interesting, it is also thought-provoking in terms of the values and behaviours of society, and of various groups of people that exist within it. 

The story of Dungias turns a looking glass on the way in which some people and groups in society respond to difference and individuality in a powerful and very relevant way, even though the contexts are different. The resilience and personal strengths of Dungias’ character are inspiring, presenting a valuable example of how such prejudice and discrimination can be dealt with in constructive ways, yet at the same time conveying a very realistic sense of the sadness and isolation experienced even within their own families by those who live with differences and individual qualities that society finds confronting. Even so, the limitations assumed and imposed by others do not serve to define or the individual, as Dungias so profoundly demonstrates.  

As the story progresses, the reader journeys with Dungias through conflict, growth and developments that bring him to understanding that “nothing in our lives is as much a discovery as it is truly a revelation”. Indeed, there is much revealed about both Dungias and the reader as this action-packed story and its secrets unfold. 

‘Star Chaser’ is both entertaining and inspiring, innovative and engrossing. It’s a journey that no science-fiction fan will want to miss. 

This riveting epic read has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here