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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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Imago Chronicles Book One: A Warrior’s Tale

By Lorna T. Suzuki

Copyright 2003 by Lorna Suzuki, printed by Lightning Source, distributed by Ingrams and also available from the author’s website at http://web.me.com/imagobooks

ISBN 978-0-986724-0-2-2

Imago Chronicles Book One: A Warrior’s Tale by Lorna Suzuki is currently under negotiations for film production. This isn’t surprising as the storyline for the book is action-packed and engrossing. The lead character, a half-human, half-elf young woman is strong, yet very vulnerable, but not in ways that are easily discernible, even to the reader’s eye.

The heroine, Nayla Treeborn is taken away by a family friend after her father beats her. Nayla is taken to a hidden colony far to the north of the city where she grew up. Nayla is hidden amongst a fierce band of people who are also spiritual warriors, called the Kagai. It turns out the Kagai knew, and admired Nayla’s mother, Kareda Bansho. Wanting to leave her past behind her, Nayla takes on a mortal name given her by her mother and becomes Takaro Bansho, leaving the identity of Nayla Treeborn behind her as she enters the Kagai warriors’ town of Anshen.

The Kagai are kind people and under their tutelage Takaro flourishes. As time goes by she is taught the ways of the Kagai warrior and her long life allows her to extend her studies through multiple generations of Kagai masters. The down side of this long life is she sees so many friends pass away, but at last, she becomes a Kagai warrior.

The action scenes in Imago Chronicles Book One: A Warrior’s Tale are extremely well written. I believe this is due in large part to Suzuki’s twenty-five years of martial arts experience. She brings realism to the fight scenes that is often lacking in fantasy books.

Imago Chronicles Book One: A Warrior’s Tale is Takaro’s/Nayla’s story. It is of the battles she fights we hear. It is of her love that we are told and like her we long for its fulfillment. It is her passion, for life, for the people she protects, for those she loves and cares for, and even for those whom she despises that we care about. It is her life we wish to see preserved at all costs and throughout the novel we are brought time and again to situations where it is quite conceivable our heroine may not survive, especially since the novel opens with a scene where she is at last, preparing for death.

What follows is a scene from Imago Chronicles Book One: A Warriors Tale

“…for soon, you shall be asked to take up arms to join your brothers,” said Yaruke. “Your task will be to memorize the areas; the lay of the land Medaru shall be leading our men into. If any of the men become separated, it will be your job to see the warriors to safety. And as you are now trained in the art of healing, your task is to administer to the care of the wounded until they can be delivered back to Anshen.”

“Will I be ready?” asked Takaro. “Will I be leaving any time soon?”

“You are as ready as you will ever be. And yes, you will be leaving soon,” answered her master. “I had received word from the east that the Emperor has sent forth another army to enter our lands. He plans to invade our country before the next full moon.”

“And I shall be going this time?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” answered Yaruke, with a dismal sigh.

“How can that be unfortunate? I have trained for this a good long time, master. I have seen too many of my brothers go off to battle, some never to return. I feel a need to go; to fight by their side.”

“Are you not scared?” queried the warrior priest.

“I cannot deny that deep down, I am scared, but I am more scared of failing than I am of dying,” she responded in a small voice. “I am afraid that I may not have the courage to face the enemy when the time comes. I worry that I may lack the bravery to rise up against our foes to do what you and your forefathers have done.”

“What do you define as courage, Takaro?” questioned Yaruke.

“A warrior who is courageous is one who can boldly charge into battle and willingly slays the enemy, as quickly and as many as possible,” she answered with conviction. “And he can rise up to each occasion to do battle again and again without wavering.”

“No, my child, this is not courage. Any seasoned warrior can enter battle and not think twice about the situation he is about to face.”

“Then what does it mean to be courageous? asked Takaro, curious to learn more.

“The measure of one’s courage is not dependent on the number of heroic feats one undertakes, or the number of foes taken down in battle,” explained Yaruke. “Instead, true courage arises when one is forced to face his absolute worst fears, to be truly frightened, yet still find the courage to rise up and meet the challenge. Now that is true courage.”

Takaro considered her master’s words and with a sigh, responded: “Whether this type of courage is within me, is yet to be seen. I suppose I will not know until the moment of truth.”

“Let it not be said that there is not one of us; my father, his father, or his father’s father who did not question this the first time we were asked to take up arms. It is like a baptism by fire, not until you are tried in the heat of battle will you discover your true courage,” Attested the elderly warrior. “For my part, I have shared with you all that I can of warriorship. I have imparted the wisdom of my forefathers on to you. And through you, I hope to keep our traditions alive for as long as it is need to secure peace and justice in our realm.”

“I will try to do you proud master,” promised Takaro, bowing deeply in respect.

“I know you will, little one. I hold great hope for you,” said Yaruke. His eyes twinkled with pride as a smile creased his aged face. He gave her hand a gentle squeeze of reassurance.”

Imago Chronicles Book One: A Warrior’s Tale is a fantasy full of touches of realism. It speaks with action, love and wisdom. It draws you deeper into the story and into the fantasy as you continue to read. I highly recommend this book. Remember, if production negotiations go well look for it as film or another type of media.

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