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Rebels and Fools (The Renegade Chronicles) (Volume 1) Paperback – March 29, 2016
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About the Author
David Michael Williams was exposed to sword-and-sorcery fantasy at the tender age of 12. He dove headlong into fiction writing when he competed in a short story contest in sixth grade. While the tale—a glorified battle scene, really—garnered no accolades, two of its characters survived for many years thereafter and appear in The Renegade Chronicles. David lives in Wisconsin with an amazing wife (who somehow puts up with his storytelling addiction) and two larger-than-life children. Visit his website at david-michael-williams.com.
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Williams' characters are an unlikely unity of the honorable, criminal, and the witless (Plake). I was drawn into the story and found the inclusion of the fantasy elements (magic, goblins, etc...) to be of just the right detail and quantity to enhance rather than detract. I'm looking forward to the next installment in Heroes and Liars.
Rebels and Fools is the opening volley in a new sword & sorcery epic, which uses The Renegade Chronicles as its overarching title. Geared toward younger readers, main themes include loyalty and commitment—familiar, but also welcome.
As Williams’ the story develops, there are genuine surprises and twists. The fantastic elements—at first only in the background—are tantalizing. Of course there are wizards & sorcerers, dwarves & elves, but also an unusual branch of goblins, and a midge. Deeper in this background looms a large threat.
Williams begins Rebels and Fools leisurely, introducing thoughtfully the central characters and unfamiliar settings—a wise investment, which pays dividends later. Series foundation established, Williams effortlessly adds to his cast, as he expands the world outward. About one third of the way in, gears shift into high—the plot thickens and begins unfolding at a lightning pace.
One senses ambition and the capability in Williams; soon he will leave every offshoot and derivative behind. Renegade Chronicles offers readers the opportunity of getting in on the ground floor, of engaging from the beginning, to grow along with the writer over the long haul together.
Indeed, Rebels and Fools is the beginning of something very good!
This book is a great big step into a world that keeps you pleasantly off balance by feeling uncannily familiar and strange at the same time. While the description focuses on the Knights, the storyline quickly envelops them into a Renegade plot line. The plot twists and turns enough that, despite ample foreshadowing which usually ruins the final scenes of books and movies for me, I was still surprised at the final twist. The complexity of the different types of magic users was particularly compelling and included a whole new magical species that is equal parts snuggly cute and nose-wrinkling creepy upon first description. 👶🏼
Williams develops characters with ease and none of the expositions feel forced or difficult. The author seems to simply be a game master and the characters are the group of friends at the table for a Dungeons and Dragons adventure. He is guiding the adventure, but the individuals stay true their identities regardless of what is coming at them and how it would be "easier" for them to behave to win a fight. This is particularly true when it comes to killing characters with whom the reader has already come to empathize. A momentary roll of the dice and anyone could go, but thankfully not at the levels of GOTR.
A compelling start to the series and I'm looking forward to the next book.
Sit down and hang on because you are about to enjoy the ride of your life!!