An old warrior, too stubborn to die. A royal heir, hidden since birth.
Can they save a realm on the brink of war?
Tragedy tears Gerald’s world apart and only his unwavering loyalty saves him. After serving as a soldier for years, a single act of self-sacrifice thrusts his future into the world of politics.
Cut off from all he knows, he becomes no more than a pawn to those in command. Banished with little more than the clothes on his back, he seeks a new purpose, for what is a warrior who has nothing left to fight for?
A fateful meeting with another lost soul unmasks a shocking secret, compelling him to take up the mantle of guardian. Bandits, the Black Hand, and even the king, he battles them all for the future of the realm.
This is an unusual medieval fantasy and not quite what I expected, but somehow it keeps you turning the page all the same. It reads more like a diary, or a journal as we meet Gerald Matheson intent on revenge for the loss of his family and subsequently being severely wounded. He is sent for healing by the royal mage, and we gradually learn that the king is not a nice king and he refuses to allow Gerald to be healed.
Retired out of sight of his old life, his path crosses that of a young child hidden away in a remote royal estate, and they strike up a friendship. We follow their budding friendship year by year and as Anna grows up (very slowly!) we learn more about their world and the incompetent family ruling it.
I couldn’t say there was a specific story being told, more how Gerald protects the child, and tries to teach her about the responsibility the nobility has for others, even though there is no sign of it in the noble ruling class of their world.
Gerald and Anna are lovely characters that you can really invest in, (which is why you keep reading) and Gerald is fortunate in that he does have at least one honourable friend in Baron Fitzwilliam, but otherwise the only honourable people are commoners like the villagers of Uxley, certainly not the noble knights.
From a fantasy perspective, there is a mage that pops up, and mention of elves and dwarves and other fae races but they don’t really drive the plot. I think they play a much larger part in the later books. This is the first book of currently an eight-book series, and this first installment is very much early days, setting the scene and creating the world in preparation for the war(s) and strife that will dominate the rest of the series. If you are looking for a tale of high fantasy and epic battles, then this book is not that, though it may well be the precursor to some books that are. I think you need to be in for the long haul to get that.
Well written, keeps you reading, and although not a cliff-hanger as such, the only way to find out what happens to them next is to read the next book!
If you are into well developed epic fantasy worlds then Paul has a plethora of information about his world on his website.
About the Author:
Paul J Bennett (b. 1961) emigrated from England to Canada in 1967. His father served in the British Royal Navy, and his mother worked for the BBC in London. As a young man, Paul followed in his father’s footsteps, joining the Canadian Armed Forces in 1983. He is married to Carol Bennett and has three daughters who are all creative in their own right.
Paul’s interest in writing started in his teen years when he discovered the roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons (D & D). What attracted him to this new hobby was the creativity it required; the need to create realms, worlds and adventures that pulled the gamers into his stories.
The beginnings of his first book ‘Servant to the Crown’ originated over five years ago when he began a new fantasy campaign. For the world that the Kingdom of Merceria is in, he ran his adventures like a TV show, with seasons that each had twelve episodes, and an overarching plot. When the campaign ended, he knew all the characters, what they had to accomplish, what needed to happen to move the plot along, and it was this that inspired to sit down to write his first novel.
Paul now has four series based in his fantasy world of Eiddenwerthe and is looking forward to sharing many more books with his readers over the coming years.
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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my books which are available in eBook or paperback: Book One: Sentinals Awaken. Book Two: Sentinals Rising. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.