The River Kings' Road by Liane Merciel
CLASSIFICATION: The River Kings’ Road is a traditional, medieval European-influenced epic fantasy in the vein of Greg Keyes’ THE KINGDOMS OF THORN AND BONE, David Farland, and early J.V. Jones.
FORMAT/INFO: The River Kings’ Road is 384 pages long divided over twenty numbered chapters and an Epilogue. Narration is in the third person via Brys Tarnell, Odosse, Bitharn, Leferic, and Albric Urdaring. The River Kings’ Road comes to a natural and satisfying stopping point, but is the first volume in a new fantasy series set in the world of Ithelas.
March ... Read More
Liane MercielAs a so-called “Army brat,” Liane Merciel grew up in Germany, South Korea, and several different parts of the United States. She now lives in Philadelphia, where she practices law. She is an alumnus of Yale University and the College of William & Mary Law School. She is of Korean and European heritage. Learn more at Liane Merciel’s website.
Ithelas — (2010-2011) Publisher: A fragile period of peace between the eternally warring kingdoms of Oakharn and Langmyr is shattered when a surprise massacre fueled by bloodmagic ravages the Langmyrne border village of Willowfield, killing its inhabitants — including a visiting Oakharne lord and his family — and leaving behind a scene so grisly that even the carrion eaters avoid its desecrated earth. But the dead lord’s infant heir has survived the carnage — a discovery that entwines the destinies of Brys Tarnell, a mercenary who rescue the helpless and ailing babe, and who enlists a Langmyr peasant, a young mother herself, to nourish and nurture the child of her enemies as they travel a dark, perilous road… Odosse, the peasant woman whose only weapons are wit, courage, and her fierce maternal love — and who risks everything she holds dear to protect her new charge… Sir Kelland, a divinely blessed Knight of the Sun, called upon to unmask the architects behind the slaughter and avert war between ancestral enemies… Bitharn, Kelland’s companion on his journey, who conceals her lifelong love for the Knight behind her flawless archery skills — and whose feelings may ultimately be Kelland’s undoing… and Leferic, an Oakharne Lord’s bitter youngest son, whose dark ambitions fuel the most horrific acts of violence. As one infant’s life hangs in the balance, so too does the fate of thousands, while deep in the forest, a Maimed Witch practices an evil bloodmagic that could doom them all…
The River Kings' Road by Liane Merciel
The River Kings’ Road by Liane Merciel
If The River Kings’ Road had been published fifteen years ago, it would have been hailed as something special. Liane Merciel does a splendid job on the whole. She has interesting characters, a suspenseful plot, and a good turn-of-phrase. It has all the elements of a great fantasy novel… including the ones that have been working very well for a lot of other fantasy novelists during the past decade.
The novel is never short of entertaining, but it does have one very real problem, and that is its clearly derivative tone and style. It’s a perfectly serviceable, charming read, but Merciel’s relative inexperience as a professional author shows. Her personal voice is often lost in imitation of other novelists, and the world-building in particular lacks the freshness that would make this a memorable journey. It’s the worst-kept secret in the world that fantasy has been obsessed w... Read More
Heaven's Needle by Liane Merciel
PLOT SUMMARY: The mountain fortress Duradh Mal, mysteriously destroyed centuries ago, has many legends, but only one truth. And now, in the shadow of that once-mighty fortress, something evil is stirring. Unaware of the danger, the high priest of the Dome of the Sun has sent two inexperienced Illuminers to the village of Carden Vale, at the foot of Duradh Mal, on what should be a routine tour of religious service. The warrior Asharre, strong and tall, her face scarred with runes, her heart scarred by the loss of her sister, is assigned to protect the young Blessed. But in Carden Vale they find unspeakable horrors — the first hint of a terrifying ghost story come true.
The Sun Knight Kelland, whose faith is his power, has been set free by the daring woman he loves, the archer Bitharn, but at the cost of undertaking a mission only he can fulfill. Joined by Malentir, a Thornlord steeped in the magic... Read More