This month, we’re focusing on epic fantasy! It’s no secret that out of the many fabulous subgenres of speculative fiction, epic fantasy has always been (and probably always will be) my favorite. Even before I could read, my dad read Tolkien’s works aloud to me and my siblings, so it’s little surprise that the Lord of the Rings was the first novel to find its way into my hands.
I have since expanded my collection of epic fantasy stories to such an extent that my bookshelf groans under the weight of so many massive volumes, but one of the first contemporary fantasy novelists I discovered was Wayne Thomas Batson. I hope you have had a chance to read some of his books. If not, I highly recommend them, especially the Door Within Trilogy and Isle of Swords series, not to mention the one selected for today’s giveaway!
I am terribly excited that Wayne has offered the winner’s choice of one of the books in the Dark Sea Annals—Sword in the Stars or The Errant King. I devoured these books when they first came out several years ago and hope to be able to read the next installment when it releases. Enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below!
(Note: due to the high cost involved in determining the airspeed velocity of both African and European swallows winging their way across the ocean while laden with epic fantasy novels, this giveaway is limited to US entries only.)
Centuries have passed since the Silence, and the few remaining faithful cling to the ancient prophecies of the First One. They wait for the Caller and watch the skies for the Sword in the Stars, even as the world they’ve always known unravels around them. Murderous Gorracks have secretly penetrated the kingdom’s borders. Their attacks grow more brazen…more horrific, threatening to touch off a war on a scale that hasn’t been seen in seven ages. In the capital city of Anglinore, noble King Aravel ponders the advice of this twin brother Morlan: declare all out war on the Gorrack nation.
While Anglinore’s High Shepherd, the wise Sebastian Grenlaff urges caution and listens to troubling voices on the wind. Queen Mariel, due to deliver a child any day, suspects the unthinkable about her husband’s brother Morlan. She sets off alone to Morlan’s castle in Dunharrow, hoping against hope that she can keep old wounds from erupting in war. Alastair Coldharrow, tortured by an addiction to the outlawed Witchdrale and haunted by a violent past, wagers his life on the hope that the foretold Halfainin, the Pathwalker, would come. When at last, the Sword appears in the Stars, Alastair begins a fruitless search for the Halfainin that leaves him disillusioned, broken, and lost. Used to caring only for himself, Alastair will enter a maelstrom of conflict as loyalties are tested, dark schemes are hatched, and the many realms of Myriad brace themselves for war.
Deep in the caves of the distant Hinderlands, an ancient menace stirs. Townsfolk shudder at violent memories of The Red Queen and even dare to whisper the name Raudrim. At the same time, word comes to Alastair that Cythraul has at last resurfaced, seeking a devastating weapon in the ruins of Grayvalon. Blood-soaked clues lead Alastair into a confrontation from which only one warrior will return alive.
Meanwhile in Anglinore, young Lochlan Stormgarden, the new High King of Myriad, leaves the pomp and politics of the throne once too often. While blending in with the people of his kingdom, Loch suddenly realizes that he’s put them all at risk. The fate of his new found love Arianna, his best friend Telwyn, his family, and indeed the world of Myriad all depend on the decisions of the errant king.
Snippets from my review of The Errant King:
In the The Errant King, Wayne Thomas Batson spins a masterful tale filled with excitement, adventure, danger, and truly creepy villains with plenty of humor sprinkled on the side.
The Errant King is the second book in the Dark Sea Annals series, an epic story that will span seven books ere it reaches the conclusion. In this second book, Batson takes his writing to a whole new level, interweaving dozens of intricate plot lines, some carrying over from The Sword in the Stars, others reaching on into the next books. Because of the epic plot however, you don’t want to read The Errant King without reading Sword in the Stars first. I felt like I really connected with all of the characters – especially Loch, Telwyn, Ariana, Fred. And of course Alistair and Abbagael. (As a side note, I had heard so many people talking about Fred, I couldn’t wait to read the book to find out what it was all about. All I can tell you is that Fred is one of the most creative and imaginative characters I’ve met thus far. Definitely worth reading if only to find out who Fred is.)
There are plenty of allegorical and Christian themes woven skillfully throughout the entire framework of the book. It’s another one of those books that, as I call it, echoes eternity. The largest difficulty I had with the book was when two characters fell in love in less than a week. It seemed somewhat ridiculous, but did not detract too much from the story … Overall, The Errant King was a tremendous and captivating read. If you’re looking for a high action fantasy adventure, than the Errant King belongs on your list!