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Archive for December, 2010

Imago Chronicles Book Two: Tales from the West

By L. T. Suzuki

Copyright 2002, L. T. Suzuki, ISBN 978-1553696568

Imago Chronicles Book Two: Tales from the West by L. T. Suzuki continues the story of Nayla Treeborn begun in the first volume, A Warrior’s Tale, which incidentally is optioned for a major motion picture. Tales from the West introduces a palate full of new characters and a new adventure and a new love for Nayla. Will this love be more faithful to her than her first love was? You’ll have to read to see.

Tales from the West is artfully crafted with a scintillating storyline and a constant escalation of tension that will keep you turning the pages. I read this 413 page book in three days. I think I only stopped to grab coffee so I would have the energy to keep reading because I had to know what was going to happen next. Nayla Treeborn is a character near and dear to my heart and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series.

In Tales from the West a great quest is undertaken by seven men, six humans and one elf. Of the males all are warriors save one, an innocent, a boy, the young squire of one of the princes in the party. Together the party is destined to try to protect humans and elves from the coming of a get evil, the dark lord Beyilzon and his mighty army. If they fail, the worlds of elf-kind and humankind will be lost. It is an all or nothing situation.

The young squire is stolen from the party by emissaries of the dark lord and this is where Nayla enters the picture, battling the emissary who has the boy and freeing him. Nayla flees after the battle to pursue her own quest. Due to her stature and her battle skills all are left wondering who the boy or young man who came to their rescue was. Then Nayla comes to their rescue a second time, leading the group to safety after a hazardous turn of events. It is at this junction that the party learns their rescuer is actually a woman, who can not only carry her own weight, but best any man among them. After some consideration part of the party asks Nayla to join them on their expedition. Not everyone likes this idea but after giving it due consideration Nayla, and because of one member of the party in particular and his role in relation to her own people, Nayla decides to join forces with the expedition.

As usual Suzuki, a master at martial arts herself, brings all her knowledge of this art to bear in the fight scenes making them realistic. Her writing skill makes the scenes steal your breath away. At every turn she is the consummate professional drawing into the world of her creation with artful imagery and storytelling.

What follows is a passage from Imago Chronicles Book Two: Tales of the West:

“At the mouth of the Gap where the pass opened up into Darross, Markus and Arerys caught up to Faria. An Expression of utter shock was etched across this knight’s face as he took in the carnage. His mind was reeling, unable to comprehend the magnitude of the devastation that lay before him.

Nicobar, his childhood home, was now but a memory. And against the night sky, King Sebastian’s castle was a stark silhouette, dark and abandoned. The banners bearing the golden dragon, the heraldic symbol of Darross that once flew high and proud over the castle walls were now conspicuously absent.

Faria’s eyes scanned the darkened landscape littered with the dead. Everywhere, there lay body after body. He dismounted from his steed as he gazed at the fallen knights and soldiers before him.

“How can this be?” gasped Faria, shaking his head in disbelief as he swallowed back his mounting rage.

“This would only have happened if the captain was killed at the onset of the battle,” determined Markus. “The ranks collapsed and mayhem ensued.”

“Do not say that!” growled Faria. “The captain is not dead! He cannot be dead!”

Ignoring Markus’ words, Faria frantically raced from corpse to corpse, searching the faces of the knights once in King Sebastian’s service.

“Faria, we must move on,” ordered Arerys. “There is nothing we can do for these men.”

The Elf’s words went unheeded as Faria scrambled from one knight to the next. As he came to a body that lay near the banner bearing the emblem of the golden dragon, Faria fell upon his knees. Many arrows had pierced the knight’s body that lay before him. Arerys and Markus came to Faria’s side.

Carefully, he removed the helmet, gently cradling the dead man’s head in his arms as he trembled, overwrought with sorrow. Faria began to weep for this lost life.

“Who is this fallen knight you grieve for?”questioned Arerys, as he knelt by Faria’s side.

Gazing up at Markus and the Elf, through his tears Faria spoke: “Here, in eternal sleep, lies the protector of the House of Northcutt; trusted servant and loyal knight to King Sebastian.”

“He was the captain?” determined Markus.

“He was my brother, Davenrow Targott,” responded Faria, a sad sigh escaped him as he lay the younger sibling down. “The one I had appointed to captain the army in my absence.”

Tales from the West is full of examples of the personal tragedies and triumphs of a people who have literally set out to save the world. Its tension is finely tuned, its characters skillfully drawn and it storytelling exquisitely set forth. Tales from the West is a prime example of why fantasy and adventure is such a wonderful release for those who, like me, love it.

Please note that with some booksellers this book is listed as the first in the series. To avoid confusion look for the words Tales from the West in the title or search for it by the ISBN number. Currently the book is available only in electronic format for popular reader applications and in a pdf version although a print version will be available in the near future. If you purchase the book in deluxe PDF version through the author’s official website at http://web.me.com/imagobooks it is numbered correctly as the second book in the series.

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Montana Mist

by Doug Hiser

copyright 2010 by Doug Hiser, ISBN 9781453777695

You can almost taste the wilderness and the life springing from the pages of Doug Hiser’s new novel, Montana Mist. Set in the town of Rime, Montana the pages are replete with loners, free spirits and those simply looking for a place to lose themselves for awhile.

The scenery in Montana Mist vividly springs to life bringing the mountain town and its surroundings into keen view as you peruse the pages of this piece of modern folklore. Hiser brings not only the people of Rime, but also the wild inhabitants of its nearby mountains to boldly dance across the screen of your mind.

What follows is one of my favorite passages from the book, a tall tale that I suppose could have happened somewhere, at sometime but probably takes place only in our fascinated imaginations. It is the tale of a one-eyed wolf appropriately named Cyclops and a huge bull moose which no wolf in his right mind would normally dare to attack alone:

“Suddenly Cyclops darted in and snapped at the moose’s hind leg. The wolf was fast and quick and he had drawn first blood. The moose grunted and bellowed in rage, snot flung from his large nostrils as he twisted in response to the biting pain in his rear leg. Cyclops rushed in again and the moose was slower. The one-eyed wolf bit the moose in the other hind leg. Throughout the entire engagement Cyclops had been silent but the moose groaned and grunted and snorted in anger. The moose’s shoulders quivered and his mouth opened and closed as oxygen was sucked in. Cyclops had one more trick to play against the big Bull Moose. This is the part where I wish you could have been there…that one-eyed wolf ran around the staggered moose and got behind him again. Cyclops was too quick for that big engine of power. The moose was caught off guard as the one-eyed wolf leapt high and far from behind. That wolf jumped on the moose’s back.”

Jury held up his hands, “Now remember this is a wolf that can climb trees. He jumped on the moose’s back, not like some cougar, but like some weird rodeo cowboy wolf. I heard a tale from Connecticut Sam, an old friend of mine from South Carolina, about a raccoon that rode on a dog’s back like a cowboy. Well this wolf did the same thing, rode on the moose’s back. At first the moose just stood still, breathing hard and tossing his antlers back and forth. Finally realizing there was a wolf sitting on his back the moose started to jump and run. I saw that crazy one-eyed wolf straddling that wild moose and clinging with all four paws and biting a clump of thick hair on the moose’s neck. Cyclops didn’t try to attack the moose. He was just trying to stay on for the ride. That moose jumped and ran all over that clearing trying to dislodge Cyclops. That was the strangest thing you ever saw, a crazy one-eyed wolf riding on a bucking moose.”

Hiser knows how to tell a story and he uses masterful prose to bring his work to life for you to enjoy. I highly recommend Montana Mist, reading it will leave an indelible impression on you.

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