Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Wounded Guardian

A haunted man, war hero Martil -- now derided as the ‘Butcher of Bellic’ -- leaves his beloved homeland in search of peace. Set upon by bandits, he is tricked into taking a small child, Karia, to her uncle. But the village has been gutted of its people ... except for one ex-bandit who has the Dragon Sword, a magical relic belonging to the rulers of Norstalos.

Martil and Karia find themselves being swept up in the struggle for a country. Norstalos’s first-ever queen is trying to keep her crown while her cousin, Duke Gello, wants it and is prepared to do anything, even make a deal with dark powers, to get it …

Martil finds himself caring for a child, fighting for a queen and discovering that even a magical sword is no guarantee of victory …

Well, that is the back page blurb of The Wounded Guardian but here is a more detailed description…
The central character is Martil, a warrior who is sick of war. He has seen too much, been forced to do too much. He struggles to control his anger, his drinking. The final straw is when his King and country turns on him because he was part of an army that sacked a city, the last act of the vicious Ralloran Wars that saw Martil fighting for half his lifetime.
In search of peace, he leaves his homeland and heads north, to Norstalos, the largest, richest and most peaceful country on the continent.
But by mischance and due to the attack of some foolish bandits, he is forced to look after Karia, a small child with an attitude problem and strange magic powers.
Karia has many problems of her own. An orphan, she was raised by a priest before being claimed back by her father – a vicious bandit – who beat her and ground down her spirit.
The pair of them are forced together and must learn to rely on each other – particularly as they are heading into the middle of a civil war.
Merren is the first-ever Queen of Norstalos and her cousin, the ruthless Duke Gello intends her rule to be the shortest in history. He believes a man should be on the throne – himself – and is prepared to do anything, even stealing the country’s symbol of kingship, the fabled Dragon Sword.
But his plan goes wrong when Martil ends up not just with the Dragon Sword but as the Queen’s Champion and her last hope of taking back her country.
Lurking behind all this are the Berellians, the men Martil has spent half his life fighting. For while they were defeated in the Ralloran Wars, their dreams of blood and conquest are undimmed. They have made a deal with the Dark God Zorva and his foul minions, the Fearpriests, and believe it is only a matter of time before Gello turns to them for help…
While books do not carry a rating, I consider this to be an ``M-rated’’ book, in that it is written for those aged 15 and above. Younger readers may still enjoy it but I would recommend they only read it after a parent has read it first, to make sure it is suitable for each individual child.
There is a fair amount of blood and gore and I make no apologies for that – to see how Martil has been so badly affected by war, the reader needs to graphically see how brutal sword-fighting is. Hit another man with a sword or an axe and there is none of the ``clean’’ kills made popular by semi-children’s films such as Narnia or even Lord Of The Rings, where the hero swings the sword and the baddie falls to the ground instantly and bloodlessly.
Also, there are concepts within the book that some younger readers may struggle to appreciate.
I have tried to write this on two levels – for teenagers there is an adventure story, as well as plenty of humour. For the older reader there are also issues such as redemption, how children can change adults and the nature of good and evil. I hope older teenagers could enjoy it now – and then re-read it years later and appreciate different aspects, on deeper levels.
But principally I hope it is enjoyed!

1 comment:

  1. Haven't read fantasy in years and finally got back into it recently with a trilogy. Today I went looking for the third book but the bookstore didn't have a copy so I perused the shelves wondering what I could buy and saw The Wounded Guardian. And that was after looking at a tonne of other stuff, but it stopped me and I was really intrigued. I'm planning on buying it now and I'm really looking forward to something compelling as this trilogy (Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy) is OK but lacks something that I had when I read fantasy years ago. Late congrats on the 3 book deal and can't wait to get into The Wounded Guardian.