Austen’s debut fantasy is the account of beast-like Silas, whose unintentional rescue of a beautiful barmaid from obscurity will have lasting consequences on the fate of his homeland, Larasca.
Orphaned Silas, raised by the heartless Giovanni, possesses a bevy of supernatural powers, including a beastlike strength and the uncanny ability to propel fire from his hands. But these traits only alienate him further; Silas soon comes to the attention of the Protectors, the esteemed guard of Larasca, and goes on the lam. Meanwhile, across town, a barmaid named Rina flees a deceitful friend and a band of soldiers. As danger draws near, Silas—unknowing hero and underdog—rescues Rina from a dreadful end. The pair, accompanied by a mangy mutt Ride begin their escape to the Larascan capital, Joanissia. There, they encounter a strange underground city, a mysterious Demon-boy and a pack of murderous wolves—all while continuing to elude the encroaching Protectors. Intertwined with the youths’ story is the tale of the Protectors and Stags (soldiers-in-training) ruled by a harsh commander. In Joanissia, Queen Morana plots heartlessly in the stone-cold castle—a power hungry ruler desperate to maintain control. These three tales unwind naturally, giving readers a clear picture of life in Larasca and the surrounding nations: power struggles between rulers, the Stags’ difficult existence and the bartering of young children in power-driven marriages. At times, these interwoven plotlines may be difficult to follow, but their true—and breathtaking—pattern is resolved at the book’s close. Austen is adept at presenting well-rounded characters, a feat considering the horde that appears within this title. For a writer of her age—18-years-old—Austen exhibits a masterful command of the written word. Medieval enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with the historically accurate period details that dot this engaging fantasy novel about a nation in turmoil.
The first volume of what promises to be a fulfilling science-fiction trilogy.