Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Historical Fantasy
Approximate word count: 110-115,000 words
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Yvonne Hertzberger is a native of the
Netherlands who now resides in
with her spouse in a 130 year old brick cottage. She is an alumna of The University
of Waterloo, with a B.A. in psychology and an Hon. B.A. in Sociology. She has
always been an avid student of human behavior and this is what gives her
insights into the characters she develops in her writing. Stratford, Ontario
Her first Old World Fantasy novel Back From Chaos: Book One of Earth's Pendulum was published in 2009. The second volume Through Kestrel's Eyes is currently available. The third book in the planned trilogy "The Dreamt Child" is pending. Ms. Hertzberger is also a contributing author on the staff of Indies Unlimited. Learn more about her at her website.
“Klast, loner, assassin and spy, has no idea that his destiny is linked to the maid he is sent to rescue. But even before he can fulfill it he must wrestle with his own demons, and help Lord Gaelen unmask a traitor. Failure will upset the Balance that Earth, goddess, needs to provide good harvests, health and peace.
Earth has shown Liethis, true seer, that unless Klast completes his missions, more catastrophes, like the Red Fever that ravages the population, will follow. Time is short.”
This is an engrossing story that includes war, espionage, politics, spirituality, and a bit of romance to boot. There are several characters in this book that are listed at the beginning. I found this list intimidating but plowed ahead hoping I could keep up with all of them. The story centers on Gaelen, second son of the King of Bargia, who is thrust into power after the death of the king and his oldest son during a battle at the beginning of the story, and his advisors. As the characters were brought into play, I had no problem keeping up with them and the roles they played. The main characters are all well developed and easily believable. The matters of state which Gaelen had to deal with were tedious to me but essential to the story over all.
There are no fantasy creatures in this story; the only magical element was perhaps the spiritual belief that we ourselves affect our environment and the world as a whole. Oh, well, there was a prophetess, a true seer who Gaelen called upon occasionally. If you enjoy the political workings of a society, spy games, mercenaries, and mistresses I believe you will enjoy this story as well. The plot moves along at a nice pace encompassing all matters of this demesne (the term for the land under control of a lord) and those surrounding it.
What captivated me was the relationship between Klast, the king’s assassin, and Brensa, a lady in waiting. Both are badly broken souls that need healing and whose futures seem to hold dominion over the prosperity of the kingdom as a whole. I found it fascinating and their journey became very important to me. I do tend to get involved in the emotional aspects of the characters I read; this is where I think any story’s strength lie. Ms. Hertzberger was able to capture and express the emotions of all her characters, be it love or treachery, throughout the entire novel. This books storyline is complete; there were no cliff-hangers to draw you into the next book, although I am very interested to see what happens next. This is a great story on all levels.
British spelling and some ‘
Old World’ word usage.
A small number of proofing errors were noted.
Rating: ***** Five Stars