Exile by Martin Owton

Series: The Nandor Tales #1Genre: fantasy
Date of Publishing: April 15th 2016Publisher:
Phantasia

 

Quote of the Book

“The first squall hit the boat within a minute, heeling it over where it teetered for agonising moments on the point of capsize before righting itself. The captain shouted for his crew to get the sails off the mast as he fought for control of the steering oar. The crewmen ran for the ropes holding the sails and loosed them so that the sails tumbled to the deck. The boat righted itself just before the next squall hit and, with the sails down, was buffeted but didn’t come so close to capsize. Aron, 

Davo and Maldwyn clung desperately to the rail as the wind beat at them and waves broke over the deck. The captain, having won his struggle for control, steered for the safety of the riverbank as more squalls battered at his craft, but the storm hadn’t finished with them. 

Davo looked up from where he clung towards the west; the wind swept his lank hair from his face and he shrieked in terror. Aron followed his gaze and felt a heart-stopping moment of intense fear. A dark pillar of whirling, raging water rose out of the surface of the river and climbed into the boiling clouds. Furious gusts of wind tore at the boat’s rigging as the waterspout raced straight for them.

Aron reached for his pack and took a tight grip of it, wrapping the straps around his wrist, and waited for the impact.”

 

Blurb

‘Exile’ is a fast-moving tightly-plotted fantasy adventure story with a strong thread of romance

Aron of Darien, raised in exile after his homeland is conquered by a treacherous warlord, makes his way in the world on the strength of his wits and skill with a sword. Both are sorely tested when he is impressed into the service of the Earl of Nandor to rescue his heir from captivity in the fortress of Sarazan. The rescue goes awry. Aron and his companions are betrayed and must flee for their lives. Pursued by steel and magic, they find new friends and old enemies on the road that leads, after many turns, to the city of the High King. There Aron must face his father’s murderer before risking everything in a fight to the death with the deadliest swordsman in the kingdom.

 

Disclaimer/Personal Note

This was a review request from the author, Martin Owton. Thank you for the e-copy and the patience while waiting for this review.

 

Song of the Book

Footsteps by Pop Evil 

I know only time will tell
If all the cards will treat me well
‘Cause this hand that I been dealt
Keeps me wondering

So now here I turn the page
I’ve learned to silence all my rage
Tell me who can really say
What will tomorrow bring?

 

Review

When Aron of Darien, dispossessed noble and swordsman for hire gets in a brawl at a local pub in Nandor, the consequences have him leading a rescue for the Earl Baldwin’s heir, Maldwyn.

A successful rescue needs a good plan and those are only as good as the people who execute them. Unfortunately for Aron, the plan is non-existent, and the group of men that he is leading to execute said plan aren’t exactly top-tier soldiers (or for that matter even interested in being led by Aron in the first place). As you can imagine with that kind of a base, things start to go south right from the get-go.

***

This story has some of that old school fantasy charm on a small scale (meaning the end of the world isn’t going to happen if our MC doesn’t succeed in his quest). Aron has been looking for justice for the death of his family and the loss of his home, but unlike the typical ‘seeking revenge for a past wrong’ story, the thought of revenge doesn’t consume every waking second of Aron’s life or effect every choice he makes as we move through this rescue attempt, dealing with several women’s affections, and the more complicated play for power that freeing the son of an Earl disrupts.

I did like that his past grief/injustice was just a piece of Aron’s make-up and not the total shape of the character Aron had become; giving us a more of a rounded person outside of that need for revenge.

Eventually, there is an interception of his goals, which did surprise me because I expected the search for the people responsible and their payback to unfold over the course of a few books.
It did seem to me though that the resolution when the opportunity presented itself for justice, was very easy and a bit anticlimactic, making it feel almost incidental to this story.

***

Outside of the world itself, the magic and the fantasy aspects were a combination of things but I personally liked the mist walking; sometimes with the Gods other times with people he knew well. I also liked the wizard magic; especially the weather controlling aspect of it. I have always been a big pushover for the old school fantasy stories with the magically produced storms on the high seas (or rivers in this case) so this was a lot of fun for me.

***

The story moves along at a nice pace, never out-staying its welcome as it moves through the rescue and escape. There are some backstabbing family plots to spice things up and even a little romance (or maybe I should say a lot, every woman wants our MC) sprinkled with some fun duelling fights (especially the final battle of the champions).

***

This was a nice comfortable fantasy read that entertains without being too predictable. It’s worth checking out if you are looking for something on the noble bright edge of the genre.

 

Other notes

The girls’ naivety was a little annoying at times but also could be expected as they were somewhat sheltered by remoteness in the relaxed county life of Nandor.

 

Our Judgement

3,5 crowns

 

Available: Amazon, Barnes & NobleAuthor website: http://www.martinowton.com/

 

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