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I've been dabbling with writing in general, and working on the world of Maladine specifically, in some form or fashion for decades. Unfortunately for me, the path to that world was blocked by my own insecurities. Well, that and the real world. I served for nearly twelve years in the U.S. Air Force, and that lifestyle didn't particularly lend itself to developing creative writing skills.
Shortly after separating from the military in 2007, I decided that the time was right. I sequestered myself in my apartment, and wrote my first complete manuscript. This book, an as yet unpublished novel called Chasing After Vanity, was a pleasure to write. The only thing is, it wasn't fantasy. And ever since I first felt the stirrings to be a writer, fantasy is what I wanted to do.
With one complete manuscript under my belt, I dove into my decades-long dream of Maladine the Great, the once mighty kingdom that collapsed under the weight of her own iniquities. The first novel was to be Shadows and Bones, the first in a series of books that detailed the climax of a millennium-long struggle between good and evil. Yet as I wrote Shadows, I constantly found it necessary to develop some recent history. After all, the novel starts in the aftermath of the most recent war with the Necromancer Kings. So as I pieced together this history, I was struck with the notion to develop this into its own complete narrative. Longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel, The Prince of Graves emerged.
Now with my first fantasy story published, I can finally say I'm doing something that I've wanted to do since I was a kid. In addition to Shadows and Bones, I'm also writing short stories that I hope to get published this year.
I'm not usually a reader of fantasy, but I found that once I started this novella, it was hard to put down. Fans of 'Lord of the Rings' will love it! A couple of aspects I particularly liked were the inclusion of a female warrior - the Lady Elelluin, and also the muddying of the purity of the character of Prince Frey. At the start of the book, the princes are so good, so valiant and brave, and the dark forces massed against them are just about as black as you can get. They seem almost insurmountably evil. However, setting up for the next installment in the series, we are not quite so sure about Prince Frey, and it looks like there will be some interesting conflicts that he will need to overcome. Looking forward to the next book!
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In the Prince of Graves we're brought into the beginning of a war between the Necromancer Kings and the lone kingdom of mankind. Four princes take their armies to try to thwart the coming scourge and for a time they are victorious, until the Xethicor take the field. Emanating fear from their every being the bravest of warriors allow themselves to be slaughtered, too terrified to react or flee.
The only survivor of the four brothers is Prince Frey. After being saved and healed by the Magus Dayhoral, he withdraws to a final point of conflict where he dons a helmet that'll give him the ability to fight the Xethicor but at a price. The helmet channels one's own power into it and once that is used up it'll take in that from others around it, corrupting the wearer. Knowing the risk is the kingdom's only hope Prince Frey dons the helmet and rides into battle.
While a fast paced novella, W.E. Linde shows us a world on the precipice of falling to the evil hordes and being consumed in darkness. While the pace and the different names can be confusing early on I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Full of action and the hero facing impossible odds one can't help to not put the book down until they're finished with it. It's a quick read, a good read, and one I recommend to pass a day or two in a different world.
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