The River Kings' Road: A Novel of Ithelas
Author: Liane Merciel
Publisher: Gallery Books
Audience: Teen through adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis (from publisher's website):
A thrilling new voice in fantasy makes an unforgettable debut with this "intriguingly twisted tale of treachery and magic" (New York Times bestselling author L. E. Modesitt, Jr.). Liane Merciel’s The River Kings’ Road takes us to a world of bitter enmity between kingdoms, divided loyalties between comrades, and an insidious magic that destroys everything it touches. . . .
The wounded maidservant thrust the knotted blankets at him; instinctively, Brys stepped forward and caught the bundle before it fell. Then he glimpsed what lay inside and nearly dropped it himself.
There was a baby in the blankets. A baby with a tear-swollen face red and round as a midsummer plum. A baby he knew, even without seeing the lacquered medallion tucked into the swaddling—a medallion far too heavy, on a chain far too cold for an infant who had not yet seen a year.
A fragile period of peace between the eternally warring kingdoms of Oakharn and Langmyr is shattered when a surprise massacre fueled by bloodmagic ravages the Langmyrne border village of Willowfield, killing its inhabitants—including a visiting Oakharne lord and his family—and leaving behind a scene so grisly that even the carrion eaters avoid its desecrated earth. But the dead lord’s infant heir has survived the carnage—a discovery that entwines the destinies of Brys Tarnell, a mercenary who rescues the helpless and ailing babe, and who enlists a Langmyr peasant, a young mother herself, to nourish and nurture the child of her enemies as they travel a dark, perilous road . . . Odosse, the peasant woman whose only weapons are wit, courage, and her fierce maternal love—and who risks everything she holds dear to protect her new charge . . . Sir Kelland, a divinely blessed Knight of the Sun, called upon to unmask the architects behind the slaughter and avert war between ancestral enemies . . . Bitharn, Kelland’s companion on his journey, who conceals her lifelong love for the Knight behind her flawless archery skills—and whose feelings may ultimately be Kelland’s undoing . . . and Leferic, an Oakharne Lord’s bitter youngest son, whose dark ambitions fuel the most horrific acts of violence. As one infant’s life hangs in the balance, so too does the fate of thousands, while deep in the forest, a Maimed Witch practices an evil bloodmagic that could doom them all. . . .
It has been quite a while since I've had the pleasure of reading a really, really good fantasy, and "The River King's Road" was a fantastic read. In a way, I find this reminded me of "The Lord of the Rings". It had all the wonderful and scary things I crave... magic, witches, knights, good -vs- evil, murder, lies, deceit, treachery, love and loyalty. I found the storyline exciting with lots of twists and turns and the characters reacted just as I would expect for the setting and made them very realistic.
Yes, I loved this book! I found it to be a captivating read that draws you in from the beginning.
The main characters are few, and the story jumps between viewpoints, creating a very interesting and well rounded tale. This is the first book of the series, and does a wonderful job setting up for the next book. Yes, you can stop here at this one, but really, why would one want to? I can't wait for the next book in the series, "Heaven's Needle".
To read the first two chapters of "The River Kings' Road" or to learn more about Liane Merciel, you can visit Liane's website at: http://lianemerciel.com/
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You Wanna Know What I Think? : http://www.kballard87.blogspot.com/
This book was supplied for review by Sarah Reidy of Gallery & Pocket Books SciFi/Fantasy Blog Tours. A huge thank you to Sarah for allowing me to participate in this wonderful tour!