Hunted by false Jarl Rannar’s murderous soldiers, he started on a perilous journey through the snowy forests of the Norden to far away Falrom, the lost Burning Lands, where the mighty Kalmanir stone waited for him and the magic of the shard.
Not only Muus was affected by the shard’s implacable will. His former master Kjelle, youthful heir to a rich mining estate; Birthe, teen widow, wisewoman and mighty huntress; little Hraab with his strange, unworldly wisdom; deposed boy prince Ottil, and many others followed him south.
Afraid for the lives of his friends, Muus escaped all but the girl who loved him, and together the two traveled to fiery Falrom, seeking the Kalmanir before the enemy found them. Should Jarl Rannar gain possession of the shard, it would mean the return of the cruelly insane Gods Before and their world of primordial horror, and Muus was resigned to die to prevent that from happening.
Meanwhile, his friends weren’t prepared to give up, either, and so the race was on. To Falrom!
Secure in his position as the mighty Prince-warlock’s son, eighteen-year-old Basil is content with his solitary life of study and magic. He has a comfortable set of rooms in his father’s tower, he has his books and scrolls, and he is perfectly happy. Until the Warlockry Council summons him, and their demands sets his whole, safe existence tottering. Scared and unsure, he decides to run, and takes the first ship out of town. On board he meets Yarwan, the handsome midshipman, who awakens feelings he never knew existed.
Maud of the M'Brannoe, at nineteen already a mighty Kell warrioress, is about to graduate as a Lioness, a special duty officer answering to her Queen and no one else. The Prince-warlock asks her to fetch a certain boy from a pirate town, who could be double for his son. On their way back, someone sabotages their airship and the two find themselves marooned in an ill-reputed forest. Together, the young lioness and Jurgis the lookalike run for the coast and a ship home, while finding solace in each other’s arms.
Then the four young people meet, and Basil learns of a spell that might help him. Only the spell’s creator, the infamous Arrangh Warlock, disappeared nearly a century ago. When the four young people decide to go looking for him, they start on a path leading to an old war and unsolved mysteries that will change the world. Or kill them.
A spirited fantasy story of high adventure, sparkling humor and romantic love in an alternate earth setting of tropical islands, pirates, steamships and wyrms, where both magic and early modern technology flourish.
(From the 5* Review at: http://apocalypsebooked.com/bookreview-lioness-of-kell/)
Lioness of Kell is a long read in the tradition of high fantasy and it is worth every page of it.
If you are looking for a fantasy book with diversity in it then you should definitely check this out. You get POC main female character, a disabled character, and a queer relationship.
(From the 5* Review at: http://www.iheartreading.net/book-tour/book-review-lioness-of-kell-by-paul-e-horsman/)
I have to applaud Lioness of Kell for having one of the most diverse casts I’ve ever come across in a fantasy book. Here we see a female person of color in the role of the protagonist, and instead of jumping to stereotypes, Maud is realistic, genuine, a regular person, with flaws and troubles.
(From the 4* Review at: https://booksandashes.wordpress.com/)
From the world building to the storytelling and its pace, Lioness of Kell is a great book that is different from so many of the other books in the fantasy genre.
Recommend?: Yes definitely! I would be crazy not to recommend a book that features a WoC as the main protagonist, a character with a lame foot, and a non-heterosexual relationship!
Instead, Ghyll finds his desk stacked with reports of giant wolves and monstrous birds terrorizing the outer provinces of his kingdom, and the local authorities demand he does something about it.
Olle discovers his newly acquired estates lie in the heart of the wolf-plagued lands. When the king’s brother decides to look over his domain and see what all the trouble is about, he soon finds out the monsters aren’t the only threat.
Meanwhile Zethir, the king’s trusted spy, walks around with a dark secret he cannot divulge. He battles both inner torments and the Dar’khamorth assassins infesting the palace, and the whispering in his head drives him deeper and deeper into the darkness.
The royal squire, Torril, disappears and war threatens... Intelligent rats beleaguer a nearby city-state... An allied ruler is murdered... To top it all, Queen Kerianna takes to her bed with pregnancy complications. That bit of peace is further away than ever.
Being chased by desert robbers, delving through ancient tombs, fighting mighty jinn and liberating Kalbakar Keep makes him aware of his past – and his future.
He is a Wyrmcaller; a person of great magic, a speaker with wyrms, and the defender of Bodrus the Sleeping God. Quite a change for a one-handed seventeen-year-old, five-feet-plus ship’s boy.
And that’s not all; an ancient lich lord with an army of mad minions, aided by the jinn and a bunch of pirates, threaten the Sleeping God’s safety. As Bodrus’ defender, Eskandar is the one to foil their plans. But for that he needs an army. An army of kids...
Follow Eskandar and his friends in The Pirates of Brisa, Book 2 of Wyrms of Pasandir, a grand fantasy adventure in a world of wyrms, steamships, magic and mayhem!
How did his parents and brothers die? Where their deaths really accidents, or were they killed? These questions young Ghyll Hardingraud must answer before he can ascend Rhidauna's throne.
Ghyll’s search for the truth leads him and his Companions on a journey back to the past as he slowly unravels a dark conspiracy.
Once crowned, the young King Ghyll still has to finish the mission his dead uncle imposed on him. The journey takes him and his trusted friends through inhospitable lands and dangerous swamps to the endless steppes of Zihaen, looking for the Voice from the West. He discovers he isn't the only one. His vindictive enemy pursues him, aided by undead forces.
Note from the Author: This version has been revised on some vital plot points.
Zihaen: “Full of all the elements of the fantasy genre, Mr. Horsman writes with dynamic symbolism and in-depth magical flair. His core groups of characters use their uncanny strengths and paranormal powers to heighten the plot's progression. The setting changes are extreme in nature, yet are described with sensory detail, making the ‘make believe’ visibly believable.” (Readers’ Favorite 5* Review)
Muus found the mysterious blue stone that crashed down near his home. Now he is both a Runemaster, learning the terrible power of the runes, and the Shardheld, on whose shoulders rests the fate of the world's magic. He is desperately trying to resist the pull of the skyshard before it takes over his mind. Step by step, Fate brings him nearer to Falrom, the Burning Land, and the standing stone that waits for the skyshard.
Kjelle is the dispossessed Lord, whose disgruntled men are the Norden's line of defense against hordes of Fynni barbarians plundering the lands. He has to stop the Fynni from reaching their goal, the return of the Old Gods and with them, all the horrors from the distant past.
Tuuri, follower of the powerful warlord bent on conquering the north. Troubled by doubts, hatred of his Fynni heritage, hunted by both sides of the conflict, he hurries south to a choice he doesn't yet know he has to make.
Birthe, widow and mother at sixteen, both Völva - mistress of the magic of the Nords - and huntmaster, accompanies Kjelle in the hope of finding a new purpose now everyone she loved, is dead.
Moirra, the Un-a-Dach druidess, small, doughty and wise, joins Muus on his journey to Falrom, the Burning Land. But she has secrets in her past, and a purpose she doesn’t speak of.
And there are others, like the far too clever boy Hraab, the young Prince Ottil, the fearsome bear berserker Ajkell and the Lady Paladin Valiantrude. Join them on their journeys through danger in the lands of Brytanna, Gaul and Lotharn, for theirs is high adventure in a world filled with rebels, Vikings and idolaters of false Gods.
Follow their gripping story in Runemaster, the second book of The Shardheld Saga. An epic tale of magic, sword fighting, love and betrayal.
She manages to get an airship concession from the king of Hizmyr, a large and rich country to the north. This brings her into conflict with the local guilds, who have a monopoly on all businesses in that kingdom.
The Guilds of Hizmyr are ruthless and go to any length to maintain their hold over the king. Soon, Shaw finds herself embroiled in a battle demanding all her grit and ingenuity to win.
Meanwhile the populace, fed up with their poverty, is on the brink of rebellion. To save her plans, Shaw must not only defeat the guilds, she must prevent a civil war as well!
After that hard-fought battle, most warlocks returned to the Continent, leaving New Winsproke without a purpose. The town fell into a decline, many people were unemployed and businesses closed for want of customers and suppliers. Up for grabs for an enterprising girl!
Shaw decides to resurrect New Winsproke. She buys the old Emporium, a nearly broke arcane shopping center, and starts rebuilding it. She reopens the old shipyard, the aerodrome and a weaving mill where they produce flying carpets, and slowly the town comes alive again.
Then Shaw finds Brisan pirates lurking nearby, plundering the local power crystal mine. Somebody has to do something about those darn pirates! Of course Shaw knows that somebody is she, and that something will be very drastic.
This adventure will change the fate of a kingdom, alter the political world, and influence the lives of many people all over Malgarth. It also brings Shaw into direct conflict with Nimmendal, the feared jinn pirate kingpin of Angsthafn, who terrorizes the seas for thousands of miles around...
Muus’ fateful journey as the Shardheld nears its end. After braving the dangers of the desolate Sea of Rom, he and his friends reach the Empire of the Baljaren. Here, he decides to slip away decides to slip away from his friends and finish his fateful journey alone.
In the dead of night, he leaves the Imperial palace for the fast naval galley that will bring him across the sea to Gaul. From there he plans to cross the Barrier Alps into Falrom and seek for the Kalmanir stone he must revitalize.
Neither his friends, nor the Gods, nor even his bitter enemies, agree with his decision.
The druidess Moirra has sworn to stay with him till the end. She, by now wise to Muus’s ways, follows him secretly on board the Imperial galley just before she sails.
Hraab and Prince Ottil, shocked from their sleep by the angry God Iowynh, manage to lie their way into the next galley to Gaul and follow them.
Meanwhile from the North, Kjelle and Birthe travel toward the Barrier Alps. Kjelle wants to aid his former slave as best as he can and the Gods have given Birthe her own task in the whole undertaking.
Tuuri, finally free of his oath to the false Jarl Rannar, goes south as well, intend on warning the Shardheld of his former master’s plans.
Finally Rannar himself, with the Fynni high shaman Rev, slaughter their own way to the Barrier. They want the skyshard and feed its magic to their own Old Gods.
The last race is on. To Falrom!"
Will the Shardheld win, and restore the world’s magic? Or will foul Rev succeed, and bring back the cruel primordial Age of the Gods Before?
Follow Muus’s final journey to its moving completion in this third book of The Shardheld Saga.
“The Shardheld’s world is vividly evoked and the characters have strong, individual personalities.” (Awesome Indies Review)
“Enthralls its readers with adventure, intrigue, whimsy, and suspense.” (The Readers’ Favorite Review)