Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nicholas A. Rose is the Author of the Ilvenworld Fantasy Series

Nicholas A. Rose has been an avid reader for most of his life and a writer for almost as long. He is the author of the ilvenworld novels and novellas.

He enjoys anything to do with the sea, the outdoors and mountains, all of which he finds inspirational, and the rather more sedentary pastimes of chess, photography, real ale, reading and, of course, writing.

His books.

Markan Throne

Two rival claimants to the empty Markan Throne meet in battle. When Marcus Vintner defeats his cousin Branad, it seems the matter is settled. But Marcus is implicated in a murder and his claim to the throne is suspended.

Zenepha, an intelligent and literate sylph, is plunged into the depths of Markan politics when he is thrust, unwillingly, onto the throne.

Hingast, a third claimant, is also traveling to Marka, determined to press his claim and prepared to use force to get his way.

Marcus must prove his innocence before it is too late and the throne again falls into abeyance.

Markan Empire

New enemies plot, old enemies wait, and only a sylph stands in their way.

Cleared of all wrongdoing, Marcus Vintner is eager to press his claim to the Markan Throne. But he must first convince the Senate that it is time to replace the sylph-emperor. Zenepha has however proved himself an excellent monarch and the Senate is reluctant to push him aside.

Hingast's army still waits in the west, plotting a fresh assault, and a new threat has risen in the east. Nobody in Marka is certain of Re Taura's plans, so Neptarik and Balnus are sent to learn what they can, where spies have an unfortunate habit of getting killed. They must learn Re Taura's intentions quickly, because Marka cannot fight a war on two fronts...
Markan Empire is the sequel to Markan Throne.

Gifted Apprentice

Sallis ti Ath lies seriously ill and only a touch-healer, usually the preserve of the wealthy, can save his life. But when Elvallon heals the sick boy, he reveals that Sallis is Gifted, one of the few born to touch the power that allows the universe to exist.

But the boy's skills turn out very different from anything Elvallon expected.

Markan Empire by Nicholas A. Rose (A Sample Taken from the Prologue of Markan Empire)

Even snug in the folds of her cloak, Silmarila wished the late winter wind would ease its chill blast. Carts and sedans queued, patiently waiting their turn to enter Marka. She waited with them on the narrow road into the city, wanting to draw no attention to herself. Many less patient than she walked past and ignored choice comments thrown their way by those less mobile than themselves.
She smiled wistfully at the huge pyramid dwarfing the city, a giant ruby light-crystal at its apex. Those seeing Marka for the first time stared more at this feature than any other and she overheard their awed murmurs. The city was impressive, but the pyramid overwhelmed it, dating from a time when much knowledge, now lost, abounded.

Mounted guardsmen rode down the line to break up a fight a little further along. One glanced at Silmarila; he eyed her walking staff and tried to see into the cowl of her cloak. Then he was past and she was forgotten.

Many fighting men eyed her walking staff with respect. They knew a quarterstaff when they saw one. She'd had no call for it on her journey, but these were troubled times.

"All right, that's enough!" One of the guardsmen tried to break the fight up. "Enough, or your time in Marka will be spent in a cell."

The queue surged forward before halting again after a few steps. Many were travel-worn family groups, drawn by the offer of free land. Some might even be farmers and their families.

Silmarila wondered how much "free" land was left and of what quality. Although for very different reasons, the rumors that lured these people were the same that brought her to Marka. She had no need of free land. She looked towards the city gates.

Marka had an emperor again.

Rumor that two claimants to the vacant Throne had been called to Marka caught her attention and stirred her to action a year before. She left her comfortable village to return home and hopefully reclaim her rightful place.

More rumors followed hard on the shirttails of the first. One claimant had defeated the other; one had murdered the other after the battle; a general had gone berserk and murdered both claimants... Silmarila could hardly wait to learn the truth.

There were always rumors, but these were many and too fast to be other than truth, even if embellished.

"Break it up, I'm telling you!" The scuffle had broken out again. "Any more and you're arrested. All of you!"

She was already on the road when she heard the whisper of a no longer vacant Throne. She had initially discounted what the rumor said; she had laughed at such a ridiculous notion. A sylph on the Throne? A sylph, ruling humans? But the nearer she came to Marka, the more persistent the tale and, now she was here, she had no alternative but to accept it as truth.

When stories of the siege reached her, she almost turned back. She had never flinched from advising it when necessary, but she hated war. All that suffering and pain and hunger and grief.

Then other stories came.

There was an ilven in Marka. She hadn't seen one of the sisters for, for... Well for longer than she cared to remember. But it was not the ilven who pulled her onward. There was also a young gwerin. A baby gwerin with no idea what was expected of her, alone and in need of schooling.

She shivered as the wind chewed through her cloak.

The city walls were more or less as she remembered them, with a repair needed here and there after last year's siege. Most buildings that poked their upper levels above the walls were different, but some familiar edifices loomed benignly toward her.

The only constant in life is change. She smiled as she recalled her tutor's words. Sometimes it came slowly and sometimes it seemed as though change had ground to a halt, only to rush forward like an avalanche in winter. It was inexorable, but blind and not all was for the better. She wished change would affect this damned wind. In early spring, the Markan winter clung tenaciously to its empire, spiting nature's attempts to drive it away.

She grimaced at the human remains hung in a cage above the gate, picked white by carrion and weather. The placard announced to the literate that these were some of the remains of Hingast, failed invader of Marka. He was not the first to fail to take the Jewel of the World and she doubted if he would be the last. Some rumors claimed Hingast was still alive.

She pushed the cowl of her cloak back to show her face to the guard at the gate. He gave her a once-over before nodding her through. He had no reason to deny her entry, even if he knew who and what she was. Especially if he knew. She passed through the gate and into the city.

She took a deep breath, she was home.

Though the trees that lined the center of the main road were new, the streets followed a familiar layout. The bustle of Marka at work was the same and she was certain of the way to the Imperial Palace.

Sylphs thronged the crowd, as numerous as ever. If any recognized what she was, they gave no sign of it, but Silmarila increased her pace anyway. She sensed the end of her journey while drinking Marka's sounds and scents, all so painfully familiar she knew she had missed them.

Another corner and she was there.

The Coronation Building was the same; she would be shocked if that had changed. She grimaced at the ugly warehouse, built a good time ago to judge from the state of it. That would never have been allowed in Emperor Evlander's day. She left Senate Square and the Imperial Palace was before her.

Nicholas A. Rose

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Book Review: Cold Hearted Son of a Witch by M.R. Mathias

Cold Hearted Son of a Witch – Dragoneers Saga Book II – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

‘The Crown Prince lay peacefully, as if asleep, inside the currently green-colored magical field. He was afflicted with the Goblin King’s poison, a terrible stuff that had maddened and then slowly corroded from the inside out anyone who’d breathed it. If the stasis failed before an antidote was concocted, he would surely die. Jenka knew Herald was right about what had to be done, but that didn’t relieve the urge Jenka was feeling to just ignore common sense and keep his word by saving his fellow Dragoneer.

The Dragoneer’s Lair, as the hall was now called, was an intensely morbid place. Queen Alvazina was often found there arguing with her husband or weeping over her son’s body. Like Mysterian, she was a witch of the Hazeltine, and she fully understood the magnitude of the situation. She knew Richard’s life hung in the balance, and that there was no certainty about the antidotal potion Mysterian hoped to brew. Her sorrow seemed to sap the hope out of some of the others, thus the hall was sometimes the quietest place in Mainsted.’

In his first book, Mathias introduced us to Jenka De Swasso, Rikky Camille and Zahrellion, along with their dragons Jade, Silva and Crystal. He took us through the battle with the Gravelbone and the poison that put Prince Richard into his state of suspended animation. We saw King Blanchard and Linux change places for the benefit of the war. We also learned the prophecy of what is called the “Confliction” that will be fought by 10 – 5 Dragoneers and 5 dragons. But what is the “confliction” and who are the other 2 Dragoneers? Where will they come from? Where will the battle take place? Will the antidote, once brewed and administered to Prince Richard, counteract the poison and bring him back to help fight in the confliction? And will Linux and the King finally make the switch back into their own bodies?

It didn’t take me long to read M. R. Mathias’ first book. It was packed with action, excitement, suspense and a little humor now and then, making it a fast enjoyable read. When I read his second book in this series Cold Hearted Son of a Witch, I expected more of the same. Well, he didn’t disappoint me. It has everything that the 1st book had and more.

I’ve never been a big fan of fantasy books but this author is changing that. He could carry this book into a series of 10 and I’ll read, and am sure, enjoy every one. I love reading this series.

Book Review: An Uncommon Family by Christa Polkinhorn

An Uncommon Family – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

“Mama?” she whispered. She saw the woman only from behind, but the bounce in her step, the long, reddish-blond hair flowing down her back, swaying left and right, the tall, slender figure – it must be her mother. She tossed the rest of the ice cream into the trash can, got up, and ran after the woman. “Mama!” she called as the woman got ready to cross the street. The light turned from blinking red to solid red, just as the woman reached the other side. Karla rushed after her, barely aware of the honking around her or of the shrill warning bell of the blue-and-white streetcar. She heard someone yell at her but by then she had arrived at the other side. The woman was walking along the river toward the Lake of Zurich. “Mama, wait!” Karla bumped into someone. “Watch it, kiddo.” A man stepped aside. “Mama…” The woman finally turned around and looked back, scanning the people behind her, then walked on. Karla stopped dumbfounded. It as the face of a stranger.

Six year old Karla is devastated when she realizes the woman she followed wasn’t her mother. The disappointment she felt when finding out she had been mistaken brought her to her tears causing her to fall and skin her knees. Jonas Bergman was walking by at that time and helped the little girl up and tried to ease her pain until her Aunt Anna made it to her side. When Karla explained that she thought the lady was her mother, Anna had to explain to not just her but Jonas as well that her mother wouldn’t be coming back. Karla’s mother and grandmother had both been killed in a car accident. This was something that Karla knew but wasn’t ready to accept.

After her sister and mother were killed, Anna took custody of Anna. She was a single woman with memories of a happier, yet devastating time when she was younger. Twenty years ago she was married to a wonderful man and living in New York. Live couldn’t be better. But it could be worse and that’s exactly what it became.

Jonas was a widower. The love of his life had died of cancer leaving him with an emptiness that no one would ever fill again. His life now consisted of his art work and teaching. And after seeing some of Karla’s work, he knew she would be a master student.

Now, can you take 3 very lonely people and make them into one happy family? Can you take the lack of trust from a woman that has been hurt so badly that she swore to never trust another man and turn her into a loving companion? Can you take a man who spends his free time talking to his deceased wife as if she is there and convenience him to take a step toward healing and happiness? This is what Karla and her best friend Maja plan to do.

An Uncommon Family was an extremely heart touching book. When I read a book to review I normally make notes or post stickies on pages marking events I want to remember. I didn’t do that with this book. I didn’t have time. I became so engrossed that I turned page after page and forgot the notes. This is a truly beautiful story about love and the loss of love.