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Dragon's Rook (The Lost Sword) (Volume 1) Paperback – April 9, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Keanan Brand is the pseudonym of an award-winning American writer. He grew up on the West Coast then in the South, attended college in Missouri and Arkansas, traveled to Honduras as a teenager, roamed to several states, and now resides in Oklahoma. A former proofreader and associate editor for independent presses, Brand is currently a novelist, a freelance editor, an amateur photographer, and a poet. Website: http://keananbrand.wix.com/keananbrand Blog: http://keananbrand.wordpress.com
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Top customer reviews
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The 'good guys,' such as Gaerbith, contain depth of character and clear story arcs. Gaerbith has a calling on his life, one which he fights with every ounce of his being to the extent that he's frequently in conflict with himself. Another main character, a young blacksmith, has a hidden past that is slowly revealed to him, challenging everything he thought he knew about himself.
The evil, Mad Morfran, is a truly evil villain, though who is really in control - him or the centuries old mage who manipulates him from the shadows? And what of the Black Hoods, evil magicians weilding the evil power of the void.
One of the things I most enjoyed about the book was the portrayal of the dragons. So majestic and powerful, yet able to be enslaved by humans. One dragon in particular captured my heart.
Dragon's Rook is a big book, but I flew through it in no time, and can't wait to read the sequel when it comes out.
READ IT! You won't regret it!
Edit 3/11/15 - Reading this book again, and I had forgotten how well the story locks in the reader through the middle sections. Outstanding stuff! Enjoy the 1st 1/3 of the book, but once you get past that... BUCKLE UP and prepare for some "I'll just read one more chapter" sessions!
I await the sequel with eager heart and ready credit card.
Meanwhile, two orphans in a village are confronted with danger and a risk that could expose them both. Neither of them knows the role they have yet to play in the wider world.
Brand's book isn't a light read - there's great description and poetic flow here. It is an intriguing book, but it is a good mental challenge to appreciate everything going on. I read a lot of speculative fiction, and his fantasy stands apart with both the story and the writing quality. I highly recommend it.
But in the war Dissonay and Skarda wage over the unclaimed Territories, nothing is straightforward. Beyond the dispute over the land is a riven family, rumors of an unfaithful queen and brothers-in-law turned against each other and cousins crossing swords to the death. Further yet, a more distant kinship is the heart of a more ancient feud, where lost heirs and lost swords are menaces to the Mad King. And at the furthest edges, old, inhuman powers reach hands into human battles.
In "Dragon’s Rook", Keanan Brand spins a complex and epic tale. The novel is high fantasy, of an old-fashioned flavor. There are bits of an invented language, and the story is more multi-threaded than I see in most contemporary fantasy (excepting works by Stephen Lawhead, an old-fashioned author in his own right).
The book itself is long for a modern novel – just breaking 500 pages. A second book will finish the story. It might have been possible to shorten "Dragon’s Rook" and create a duology, and I salute the author for not doing so. "Dragon’s Rook" ends in a good place as it is, with its climaxes and converging story lines. Additionally – I will confess it – I have seen so many trilogies, a duology spices things up a bit.
"Dragon’s Rook" features a large cast of characters, all realistically drawn and many vivid as well. Relatively few got under my skin, but they did exist: Maggie, Yanamari, Mad Morfran and, to a lesser extent, Kieran and Rhon. I felt a couple more would have, had they been given the stage for it. The plot moves through many dangers, and the author lets this take its toll on the characters. A number die, and not only throwaway characters. I am inclined to think too many died. But the author’s willingness to discard characters has its upside, most notably in paving the way for a brilliant new villain.
This novel possesses a strong religious element. Characters struggle with questions of suffering, God’s will, and their own free will. Unlike much Christian fantasy, the outward forms of religion are built into this world: churches (called kirks), priests, religious signs, funeral rituals. Superstitions and a dark, sorcerous order are also part of the religious landscape. In this, as in other ways, the world-building is realistic and thorough.
Although the book is not generally graphic, there are grisly moments. I found one scene hard to bear. The large cast, though mostly a strength, had a negative side in that the characters were sometimes hard to keep track of. It wasn’t always easy, for example, to distinguish one secondary member of the Fourth Lachmil from another.
"Dragon’s Rook" is strongly written, with beautiful phrases and evocative descriptions. It is a complex epic, drawing its characters from many different corners to face the revival of old hostilities, old legends, and old hopes. Recommended to all lovers of high fantasy.