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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wounded Guardian's exciting debut

Redemption looms large in Duncan Lay’s debut novel The Wounded Guardian, in which an orphan and a desperate queen thwart the retirement plans of a traumatised war veteran.

Martil is a soldier who in company with his fellow Ralloran countrymen has committed a host of atrocities, including killing women and children, all in the name of war, earning the soldiers the title ‘the Butchers of Bellic’.

He leaves his country to try and forget his past, and escape his double-edged reputation, but finds the old habits of a warrior die hard.

After an attack by bandits, which he successfully fends off by killing all of his attackers, he finds himself in charge of the chief bandit’s daughter, six-year-old Karia.

It is this unlikely relationship that adds another dimension to Martil’s character, as he gradually undergoes a transformation, rediscovering his purpose and pride.

Lay’s descriptive passages will engage fantasy fans with weaponry, clothing and lodgings all described in minute detail.

And the story itself is dense with twists and turns as assassins, archbishops, greedy nobles and scheming soldiers are thrown into the mix.

When Martil discovers the famed Dragon Sword, a magical weapon that only the Queen’s champion can wield, and later rescues Queen Merren, who is being held prisoner by her cousin Duke Gello, the story really takes off.

Military buffs will appreciate the fighting tactics, and perhaps even the violent and bloody battles that move the story along.

Heroism, romance, heartache, sex, violence, death and disappointment - The Wounded Guardian has it all in spades.

But a magic sword, especially one that can drain the life of its wielder for making poor decisions, is no guarantee of victory.

And even if he succeeds, will he ever be able to lay the ghosts that haunt him?

But of course Martil’s story is bigger than one book – it’s the first of a trilogy that, once you read the first, will have you hooked as you wait to discover the fate of war-ravaged Norstalos, its Queen, her champion and his young charge, who has a secret all her own.

The Wounded Guardian (Harper Voyager, RRP$20.99).

By RR with No comments


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