Reviewed by Dan
AUTHOR: Rowan Speedwell
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 167 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 19, 2016
Outrunning a winter storm in the north, Captain Faran of the King’s Guard leads his men and a young mage named Meric to shelter at Bitterwood Manor, the ancestral home of the Daenes. Faran and his troops have been searching for weeks for a mysterious, lion-like beast that reportedly haunts the uncharted northern woods. For Meric, finding that prophesied cat is a matter of life and death.
Though Faran is deeply focused on their mission, the enigmatic Joss Daene, Lord of Bitterwood, fascinates him. Strong and proud, Joss is everything Faran wants in a lover. More, if he were honest. But Joss belongs to Bitterwood, and Faran to his duty.
Together they will need to brave the oldest, darkest part of the Bitterwood in the coldest, deepest snows of winter to find the legendary cat. But time is running out—for Meric, for the kingdom, and for Faran and Joss’s fledgling love.
Have you ever read a book that you kept hoping wouldn’t get to the end too soon? This was one of them for me. I even made excuses to do stuff around the house to delay it. I know, right? To slow myself down…I even trimmed that damn Bougainvillea out front! I have the scratches to prove it!
But I digress. Back to the book. So what did I like? Pretty much everything. The world building and character development were very good on this one. We meet Captain Faran and his young mage, Meric just as they are arriving at Bitterwood Manor in the far north of their country. They are there on a mission to find a creature that has, as the blurb states, been prophesied to keep Meric from dying on his upcoming eighteenth birthday.
It isn’t long before sparks are flying between Faran and the Lord of the Manor, Joss Daene. I really liked the relationship between these two men. Both pig-headed in their own way. Both tied to their duty, and neither willing to bend.
The story moves along quite quickly, but is satisfactory in its speed and depth of detail. I felt I got enough information on the country, without being too bogged down in minutiae. I would love to read other stories set in this world, but the book is pretty much a self-contained story. It doesn’t need a sequel. It is good the way it is. I will be honest, it was pretty clear what the hidden information on Meric was, but it didn’t detract from the story that the reader could easily figure out his identity. Faran’s true identity though…was a total surprise!
I love a good fantasy read, and this was definitely a good fantasy read. I recommend it highly.