Sunday, May 22, 2016

From A Broken Land IThe Broken Throne #1) by William R. Herr

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Series: The Broken Throne
Genre: Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Mechanicsburg Press (February 10, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1495186903
  • ISBN-13: 978-1495186905

Synopsis: Something in the mist is alive—or is it the mist, itself?
Kiranae is a girl in flight, carried through the mists to escape a marriage she cannot abide. Gidon is a simple messenger, sent on a mission he is never expected to survive. Through coincidence, fate, or something stronger, they are brought together—bound to each other.
But, deep within the shadows and mist, a wicked and threatening force watches them. Gidon must protect the girl, his men, and himself from a force and presence he cannot explain. Together, they are thrust into war, intrigue, and impossible love, never realizing that their lives are part of a larger, and darker, plan.
Review: This book reminds me of George R. R. Martin's work. The world-building is fabulous--deep and intense. Everything about it is well-developed: religions, races, clothing, cultures, etc. You can fully immerse yourself in this world in no time.

There is much action in this book, which will keep you turning pages to see how it is going to play out.  Seeing as how this is the first book in a series, not all of the action gets tied up by the end, so there are cliffhangers to keep you waiting for the next release.

You can tell from this book that this world has MANY more stories to tell, and I look forward to reading them. 

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**

Rating: Four stars
 The Mist moved, and the world moved with it. It drifted between trees and along well-worn pathways, across rivers and the chatter of brooks, and through hamlet and city alike. It was everywhere and nowhere, both substance and absence, a bond of translucence which coiled without respect to power or privilege. It molded futures and caressed memory without care to time and distance. All things were within the mist’s grasp, and within it, everything was.

·       The shadows drifted with the wide tendrils of the mist, then through and between the burning remains of buildings, until they found their quarry. There, Gidon, a young soldier and emissary of the church, looked down at a victim of the blight, and pushed away his revulsion. The young soldier was tall, a full head above his fellow guardsmen, had they ever cared to compare, and his dark brown hair was cropped short to his shoulders. Like others in the guard, he was strong, fit and commanding in stature—the church would accept nothing less.

·       Cardinal Richmond looked down over the village outside the walls. As the Ustadin said, “He is as prepared as I can make him.” Around Gidon, the shadows moved and danced. They gibbered in the wake of the overheard word.
Give him to them. Send him.  Let him die.

·       “This blight has not only struck here. It is creeping through our lands like a breath of wind, and falls before it.” The Cardinal shook his head. “The College has dealt with these horrors in the past, and survived it. I am sending you to find one of their memberships, and convince him to aid us.”

·       The Countess glanced to the princess Kirnae, her niece, who sat across from her. The girl was too tense for rational action. Her hair was purposefully unkempt, and her clothes meticulously soiled. Even so, the girl’s demeanor was too proper, too refined.  She bore herself as a girl accustomed to comfort, rather than the harsh life of the peasant she pretended to be.

·       Four swords scraped quietly against leather sheaths as the soldiers drew their weapons. Footfalls approached with slow, careful deliberation through the forest, and a lone figure distinguished itself from the darkness of the mist. “Halt!” The lead soldier called out. “Who goes there?”

·       Gidon flicked the blade sideways. The blade easily cut through the uniform and skin of the man to his right, and the soldier fell to the ground with a scream. The leader raised his weapon to attack again, and Gidon pivoted on his right foot. He brought the sword around in a wide arc to slice through his attacker’s uplifted weapon and arm.

·       Gidon drank deeply from his mug, and set it down, empty. He stood, and addressed Renault in what he hoped was an official manner. “Seer Renault, I was sent to find either yourself, or another of your order, to relay prayers for assistance. The church requests your aid, as well as that of your college. The blight has risen and threatens all within the Mistwood and beyond, to the shores of the Hammat. Together, the Sidhea and Hammat can defeat the blight.”

·       The Tenant struck Gidon with the back of his left hand, against the temple. Gidon struggled to keep his feet. “Quiet you. Orders are orders. You do what you’re told and you don’t get to decide how to follow them. And since you take orders from me now, you do what I tell you.”

·       Gidon caught his breath. The girl was not what the Sidheans might call beautiful, if he even knew what that meant, but the image of her shocked through him like a cold wind.  Her hair was wild and dark. Her dress and tunic were stained from travel. Still, something about her drew his eye and held his attention. It might have been the subtle curve of her hip, or the firm grip she held on the pommel of her dagger. Regardless, he found her stunning.

·       “You don’t think, that’s your problem.” The Tenant gestured with the hilt of his broadsword at Kira, and she flinched away from it. That sword was brutally large. “I’ll decide if she’s dangerous or not.” She watched him glance to the Mistwood with distrust, then back at her. “They’ve been following us, watching us this whole time. I say she’s a Sidhean spy.”

·       “I stand to her defense”
The Tenant sneered, and said, “You don’t have the right to it.”  He glanced at Renault. “Actually, he does.” The Seer’s voice was somber. “Tenant, if Gidon wished to stand to her defense, you have to face him.” He glanced at Gidon and then at Kira.

About the author
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Never content to settle for the mundane aspects of life, William R. Herr’s life has been nothing short of a grand adventure. 
Born in Santa Monica, California, the child of a British mother and a German-American father, Herr had a quite unconventional experience growing up. Traveling with his parents across America, he learned to love to read, starting first with the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs. From there young William moved on to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Analects of Confucius, Tolkien, Heinlein, and Asimov.
“When I didn’t have my nose in a book,” says Herr, “I was either building some wild new invention, or destroying something as I tried to test it. There may have been some miserable failures at sports during that period, but I admit nothing.”  Early on though he was recognized for his skills as a writer, winning a writing contest and cementing his ambition of becoming a wordsmith.
After a stint at a junior college, Herr spent some time in Europe before returning to the United States where he landed a job as News Director at WHGB-AM in Harrisburg, PA. In his spare time, he wrote his first play. Then it was back to school to work at the college newspaper, before transferring to the prestigious University of Iowa Writing School. It was there that Herr continued to hone his writing skills, writing his first published piece (Jeremy & February, published 1996 in Likewise Magazine, London), and producing his first play (The White Room) at No Shame Theater.  He also found time to play chess with Kurt Vonnegut and spent the rest of his free time “over a typewriter.” But before he graduated he got married and had a child, making the insecurity of the writing life even more of a challenge.
To make ends meet Herr has done everything from digging ditches and shoveling cow manure to working in the corporate world (which may not be that far a stretch).  He also learned everything there is to know about computers and became a master swordsman, competing in the SCA. Herr worked for five years at Mindspring Networks, but found that environment far too stressful and claustrophobic. And since he had acquired a CDL, he opted for the freedom of the highway and became a full time trucker, a job he still maintains.  Herr is an adventurer at heart and has not only jumped off a 500 feet cliff, but has also worked for a while in the rodeo.
He is the author of The Collective, and From A Broken Land is Book One of The Broken Throne series.

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