A Story Can Change Your Life
On the morning she became a young widow,
my grandmother, startled by a sudden shadow,
looked up from her work to see a hawk turn
her prized rooster into a cloud of feathers.
That same moment, halfway around the world
in a Minnesota mine, her husband died,
buried under a ton of rock-fall.
She told me this story sixty years ago.
I don’t know if it’s true but it ought to be.
She was a hard old woman, and though she knelt
on Sundays when the acolyte’s silver bell
announced the moment of Christ’s miracle,
it was the darker mysteries she lived by:
shiver-cry of an owl, black dog by the roadside,
a tapping at the door and nobody there.
The moral of the story was plain enough:
miracles become a burden and require a priest
to explain them. With signs, you only need
to keep your wits about you and place your trust
in a shadow world that lets you know hard luck
and grief are coming your way. And for that
—so the story goes—any day will do.
Given the chance to train as a squire, kitchen servant Achan Cham hopes to pull himself out of his pitiful life and become a Kingsguard Knight. When Achan’s owner learns of his training, he forces Achan to spar with the Crown Prince–more of a death sentence than an honor. Meanwhile, strange voices in Achan’s head cause him to fear he’s going mad. While escorting the prince to a council presentation, their convoy is attacked. Achan is wounded and arrested, but escapes from prison–only to discover a secret about himself he never believed possible.
This is a debut novel from this Author, and the first in a trilogy which, if this book is anything to judge the others by is going to be an enjoyable series.
There are two main protagonists in this novel, and both are written masterfully and with pen that draws the reader to them and results in them caring deeply about these characters. Their comparative lifestyles are woven together skilfully and this gives them a feeling of being more than one-dimensional character that can so often appear in a novel in this genre. The care with which the main characters are written spans over any and all characters the reader encounters as they progress through the book, making it one that does not leave the reader wondering who a certain person and what their role in the scheme of things is.
Initially getting immersed into the story presented a challenge, as the world in which it is set is again totally different from any other books I’ve so far read in this genre; it presents the reader with a whole new culture and time period, that once it becomes familiar will completely engulf you.
Unfortunately, the masterful storytelling and great character development was marred by the use of rather windy verbiage and a lack of use of simple verbs; in my opinion the Author did not need to go down this route to prove that they have a good command of the English language, and the overuse of descriptive language had a tendency to slow the novel down rather than allowing it to move at a steady and reliable pace. I’m also hoping that when the next instalments of the trilogy are published the Author chooses to use a more adept proof-reader; there were some very noticeable errors throughout the book that really marred the end product.
I highly would recommend this book novel, or are looking for a different approach in this genre and, despite the errors I have pointed out I am looking forward to reading the remaining books in the series.