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GODFREY'S CRUSADE  by Mark   Howard


The Griffin Legends

by Mark Howard

Pub Date: July 28th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-08-798204-5

This epic fantasy debut features a squire’s journey to knighthood during a crusade against monstrous forces.

In the kingdom of Lortharain, 17-year-old Godfrey squires under his older cousin and knight, Sir Fallard. Godfrey’s parents are Duke Ulric and Duchess Regana of Bastogne. One day, as Godfrey acknowledges that he’s ready to be tested for knighthood, he and his training contingent stop in the town of Harv for the night. A rash of disappearances has struck the town, and Bishop Clovis presents Godfrey with the mission of destroying a vampire. Godfrey succeeds in the brave act and looks forward to being knighted by his father at their home, Fuetoile Keep. But King Wilhelm arrives at the keep with suspicious haste so as to knight Godfrey himself. The young man sees an avaricious glint in the king’s eyes and remembers his father’s words: “Some monsters are easy to see....Other monsters look like men.” Meanwhile, orcs and Nordsmen have combined forces to the north, intending to take over Azgald, Duchess Regana’s homeland. Godfrey joins a crusade drawn from many kingdoms to stand against this enemy. As war looms, two duplicitous figures filled with ugly ambitions hatch a sinister plot. Alvir of Clan Black Dragon and the sorceress Nera plan to resurrect the dragon Vozzab in their mad quest to rule all. Howard’s series opener introduces a determined, gallant protagonist who wouldn’t be out of place at King Arthur’s Round Table. Godfrey is chaste, dreaming of a girl he’s destined to court rather than hounding just anyone who might walk past him. After being wounded in battle, he meets Madeline, the daughter of Duke Tancred, and their chemistry is potent. Later, Godfrey has a dreamlike encounter with his primary deity, the sun god Loxias. He wakes with a prophecy on his lips, saying, “The crusade is for naught if the dragon now is slain not.” Though the author works with familiar elements, his rich prose renders them vibrantly, as with his orcs with “orange molten gems set in deep pits for eyes.” While this volume offers a complete, satisfying adventure, a strong foundation invites further installments.

An engaging fantasy series opener that readies a capable hero to tackle whatever comes next.