Archive for the ‘Karen Hancock’ Category

11
Jun

Return of the Guardian-King

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Return of the Guardian-King by Karen Hancock

Back Cover: Believed dead by all but the handful of supporters who rescued him from his Mataian enemies, Abramm Kalladorne has fled his homeland to the high mountains of northern Chesedh. Traveling under a new name with a group of bitter and increasingly desperate fellow exiles, Abramm hopes to reunite with his wife in Chesedh, where he will offer his services to her father in fighting the invading armies of the Black Moon. But with every step he is hindered, delayed, and diverted from the direction he desires to go, and it soon becomes clear Eidon has other plans for him.

In the royal city of Fannath Rill, Maddie alone believes Abramm still lives. But since she has no proof, her friends, family, and public opinion press her to remarry. With its neighboring realms now under enemy control, Chesedh has become the last bastion of Eidon’s Light. Desperately overmatched, it cannot survive on its own. Yet the rich, handsome eastern warlord who is openly courting Maddie has a vast fleet of galley ships that could turn the tide in Chesedh’s favor….

Editor’s Review: An excellent conclusion to this great series.  The characters, settings, and writing are very well done.  And once again, the allegorical elements are deep and meaningful.

My one complaint is that the ending seemed rushed to me.  I don’t want to ruin anything for those who haven’t read it, but suffice to say that I felt there were easily enough events to make a 5th book in the series.  Instead, some of the plot resolutions seemed rather hasty.

Aside from this, it is a great ending.  One of the best fantasy series out there.

11
Jun

Shadow over Kiriath

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Shadow over Kiriath by Karen Hancock

Back Cover: After months of conflict and opposition, Abramm Kalladorne has finally stepped into his destiny as king of Kiriath–only to find himself facing more problems than ever. The Mataio remains antagonistic, the failed rebellion’s supporters have slipped through his grasp to plot anew, bad luck plagues his every attempt to build Kiriath’s defenses…and that’s just the beginning.

As the forces of the Black Moon advance toward Kiriathan shores, Abramm agrees to a desperately needed alliance-by-marriage with neighboring Chesedh. But with the hour for his union approaching, he is horrified to discover that he has become dangerously attracted to his fiancie’s younger sister, the headstrong Lady Madeleine. Even worse, he learns that his attraction is reciprocated–just the sort of situation his enemies can use to destroy everything he’s trying to accomplish. And Eidon just might let them succeed.

Treachery and faithfulness, guilt and forgiveness, the joy of desires fulfilled and the pain of tragic loss all weave the tapestry of one man’s destiny realized–where mind-boggling blessings come wrapped in a mantle of suffering that will test Abramm’s faith to the limit and challenge everything he thinks he knows about himself and the one who owns his soul.

Editor’s Review:  Another excellent book in the Guardian-King series.  Once again, superb worldbuilding and characters make this a great read.  I would definitely recommend reading the first two books before this one, however.

As with the first two books, the allegory is deep and thought-provoking.  The hero struggles with fears and doubts about his past, as well as constant weakness in the present and I found it easy to identify with him.  This book and The Shadow Within are my two favorites of the series.

11
Jun

The Shadow Within

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The Shadow Within by Karen Hancock

Back Cover: Abramm Kalladorne has returned to Kiriath to claim the crown he thought he would never wear and to prepare his people for the inevitable attack of the Armies of the Black Moon. Though fiercely opposed by his own kin and reluctant to thrust his country into civil war at the worst possible time, he nevertheless believes this course of action is Kiriath’s only hope of salvation.

In the midst of this turmoil, a headstrong princess from a neighboring realm endeavors to uncover Abramm’s secrets—including his heroic exploits as the White Pretender and the fact that he wears a golden shield upon his chest—and her interference threatens to destroy any chance he has of maintaining his rightful place as king. 

Against a backdrop of somber council meetings and back-alley sword fights, of magnificent ballrooms and windswept mountain fortresses, plots and counterplots unfold as old alliances dissolve and new ones form. If he is to succeed, Abramm must come to terms with his own limitation—and the sufficiency of the one who controls his destiny.

Editor’s Review:  Simply one of the best fantasy novels out there.  I definitely recommend reading the first book in the series before this one, but it is still a great read even without it.  The Shadow Within picks up the story where The Light of Eidon left off.  As with the first book, I found the story-world deep and engrossing.  The characters felt real and were easy to identify with, because Hancock’s storytelling keeps you in the point-of-view character’s head.  Overall, her writing style is very good.

If I had to force a complaint it would be that at times the detail was a bit much for me, but some people will like that, so I’m not sure this is a true negative.

11
Jun

The Light of Eidon

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The Light of Eidon by Karen Hancock

Back Cover: Abramm has dedicated the last eight years of his life to becoming worthy to touch and tend the Sacred Flames of Eidon, and he expects to be blessed for his devotion and sacrifice. But on the eve of taking the vows that will irrevocably separate him from the life he was born to–as Abramm Kalladorne, fifth son of the king of Kiriath–he is betrayed by his spiritual mentor and sold into slavery by his brothers.

Swept along by the winds of a new destiny, Abramm is forced to compete as a gladiator. When the oppressed masses rally around his success, he discovers his suffering has molded him into something greater than he ever thought possible–to serve a purpose he never imagined.

Set in a world of swords and cloaks, of glittering palaces and mystical temples, of galley ships and ancient mist-bound cities, The Light of Eidon is the first volume of an epic series, Legends of the Guardian-King.

Editor’s Review: The Light of Eidon begins one of the best fantasy series I have ever read.  Karen Hancock creates a rich, believable world and vibrant characters.  In this first book of the series, it took me a while to understand the allegorical elements, but once I did, I found the spiritual meaning deep and insightful.

The only aspect of this book that could be considered negative is a scene of sensuality about two-thirds of the way through.  Although I do believe it is handled Biblically  (the character realizes his mistake and later regrets and repents of his actions), I would caution parents to give it a read before giving this book to your children.