My friend Hope Ann is releasing her book Shadow of the Hersweald tomorrow. It's the third book in her fantasy retelling novella series and my favorite so far.
The fact that I enjoyed this one so much shows that I rather like anti-heroes. Because our main character Haydn is certainly an anti-hero. He's got good intentions and he's got boundaries, he's not exactly a bad person, but as he says, "There are some who don't deserve a pardon." He's determined to make sure they don't get it.
The other characters are equally fascinating and very well developed for the length of the book. In fact the whole story felt much longer than a novella. The plot was very rounded and I got a great sense of this new part of the world.
The Hansel and Gretal aspect of the story became apparent pretty quickly, but it went places I didn't expect it. I probably should have, but I don't tend to doubt perfectly nice characters. Anyway siblings are one of my favourite character pairings and this didn't disappoint.
If you like fairytale re-tellings or Christian fantasy, I highly recommend this. I'm looking forward to see what aspect of this diverse world Hope will bring out next.
About the Book
They would have to come that afternoon. Haydn glared at the rutted road twisted away from the gate beneath him, slithering into the shadows of the Hersweald. And what was the flaming idea behind leaving him in charge? Tregaron in the hands of a criminal… that would put them all in the good graces of the province governor, no questions asked.
A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows there is only one end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him.
A pardon Haydn detests.
A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And threatening his sister.
Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.
With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment, and nightmares of murder and fire haunting his every thought, will Haydn recognize the truth or will his fear condemn everything he loves to destruction?
Although the history of Aslaria and the conflict between the Prince and the rebel, Tauscher, flow chronologically through the series, each novella in the Legends of Light series is a stand-alone story. Each novella focuses on one of the nine aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit while twisting fairy tales in a clean, exciting, and inspiring manner.
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“Open the gates, Dyfed,” Haydn called down. His voice jolted the men to their feet.
They sprang into action under the terse orders of a short figure with muscular arms. The heavy planked gates swung open with protesting groans. The great doors quivered against the earthen walls as the horsemen approached.
Mathias was in the lead. The man’s hair was grayer than last time. Thinner too, perhaps, but his grizzled face, set jaw, and sharp nose belied any change in either strength or personality. His blue eyes never glanced upward as Haydn saluted. But another pair did.
Haydn stared, his arm frozen in mid-motion. Traveon… Where had he come from? Of course, it was expected the governor would bring his son. Some said they’d reconciled during the war. Or maybe it had more to do with the death of Mathias’s wife.
Traveon’s lean face flashed a quick smile and his hand brushed his brown hair in a sharp salute. Haydn’s throat tightened, his breath hissing between compressed lips. He’d braced himself against arrest or judgment before his mother and Gorawen. But Traveon… He bit back an oath. Now they’d be one happy circle of family and old friends.
Haydn blinked and swallowed hard as the last horseman passed through the gates. He gave a quick nod to the men below and the doors squealed shut. Haydn pivoted. His boots clomped down the steps, each thud echoing like a heavy drumbeat.
“Keep watch until Eurof returns,” Haydn ordered over the heavy crash of the bar falling back into place.
About the Author
Hope Ann is a Christian authoress who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She was homeschooled and now helps teach several of her eight younger siblings.
She has been writing for over five years and has so many story ideas that she doubts she will ever stop. Her favorite genre to write is high fantasy with a touch of the allegorical. A close second is futuristic suspense. Her goal is to not only entertain with her stories but to provide inspirational fiction for young adults.
Predictably, she loves reading fantasy, fairy tales, mythology, and futuristic suspense. Her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Frank Peretti, Mark Twain, and Serena Chase.
Her hobbies include photography, movie making, knitting, tree climbing, writing e-mails to friends, listening to Celtic music, and collecting shiny trinkets for story inspiration.You can visit Hope’s blog at authorhopeann, or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.