***** REVIEWS FOR KREGEL PUBLICATIONS: THE TRAITOR'S HEIR BY ANNA THAYER - 30 PB (U.S. AND CANADA) - ADDRESSES SENT 7-24-15

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ABOUT THE BOOK (544 pages):

Every man has a destiny. His is to betray.

Like many from his village, young Eamon Goodhand dreamed of joining the Gauntlet, the army of the overlord Eldered. Now he is about to complete his training and swear his loyalty to Eldered and his commanders, the Hands, who uphold Eldered s tight control of the land.

Entering into the service of the Gauntlet, Eamon s gifts, particularly his potent Sight, quickly become valuable to his superiors and he advances to the command rank at a speed that arouses the suspicions of fellow officers.

However, Eldered s bloody rule, and Eamon s personal friendships, start to challenge the young soldier s assumptions about what might be true, and worthy of service. And soon Eamon must conceal a fatal secret: he is sworn to both Eldered and to Hughan, the rightful king of the land. Yet he may not forswear the vows he has uttered in all good faith so however he serves, his name will be traitor.

As tensions and military skirmishes increase, Eamon finds himself trusted by both his masters. How can he possibly maintain his integrity, act justly to his fellow officers of the Gauntlet, and act on behalf of all the warring people of the land?

Third in series, The Broken Blade, is coming soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anna Thayer graduated from Cambridge with first class honors in 2005 and, bilingual in English and Italian, went on to teach in Sicily. She now writes and lectures internationally on the works of Tolkien and Lewis, and teaches English at an independent school in southern England.

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Victoria Brinius Anne Campbell
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DM Webb Kathy Schemmel
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Virginia Winfield Anna Augustine
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Title:  The Traitor’s Heir (The Knight of Eldaran #1)

Author:  Anna Thayer

Pages:  544

Year:  2014

Publisher:  Kregel

My rating is 4 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from www.bookfun.org  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. 

The Traitor’s Heir was a good book.  It is about a man named Eamon Goodman whose highest ambition is to serve the Master of the River Realm.  However, soon after he has sworn his allegiance to the Master, he discovers that not everything is as it seems.  A voice enters his mind and goads him to do evil for the Master’s glory.  Joining the Gauntlet or army of the River Realm means serving the Master and fulfilling his duty whatever the cost against the Realm’s enemies, but when he is captured by these enemies, he is brought to the true King of the Realm.  This King opens Eamon’s eyes to a new way of serving something bigger than him.  Eamon agrees and swears a new oath to the King.  He is then sent to the Kingdom’s capital to spy for the King, but once inside he is exposed to temptations of power and lust for high born women sworn to the Master.  In his struggles, Eamon wonders which master he is going to betray for “a man cannot serve two masters.”

There were things that I liked about the book and things that I didn’t like.  What I liked about the book was that it has some Christian elements to the story and it shows what Christians go through in this world for even though they are Christians they are still human.  There will always be temptation, so whether we give in or stand our ground is our choice.  Eamon represents one such Christian who is struggling to serve the true King and yet the power of temptation is very strong.  Without the help of the power of the King’s Grace, Eamon will fall. What I also liked about the book is that it shows a man trying to be an example of light in a world of darkness.  I also enjoyed some of the fantasy elements in the book that reminded me of The Lord of The Rings.

What I didn’t like about the book is that it has some language and sexual content.  Fortunately, the language didn’t involve the F-word.  The sexual content wasn’t totally explicit or graphic, which was good.  I do get the reasoning behind this as it shows how people who don’t believe in God or people who have said they believe in God but have walked away from their faith in Him behave in this world.  They follow the ways of sin and not that of God.

So I liked the book a lot and I would recommend this book to others.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

This is a wonderful and entertaining fantasy story that starts off with a bang. One I did not want to put down. Can't wait to read book 2 in this series. Anna Thayer has created such realistic characters and the world they live in that I felt I was with them and could picture them in my mind. This is a mystical story of good battling evil. Something we deal with everyday.
The setting for this story is The River Realm; a world of the supernatural and intrigue. Eamon Goodman, the main character, has always wanted to be a Gauntlet in the Master's army. After giving his oath to follow and serve the master he meets the King and begins to question his oath to be a gauntlet. He is trying to serve two masters. Will he decide to follow The Master (Satan) or the King, Our Lord and Savior? Whom will be betray?
A well written story of epic proportions filled with choices, power, control, forgiveness, redemption, love and so much more. Anna did a great job with all of the characters even the evil ones. There is some profanity and graphic details of the cruelty inflicted upon others in the story.
I love fantasy stories and this was a great read.

I received a free copy of this book from bookfun.org for my honest opinion and review.

Review posted on goodreads, christianbook, deepershopping and amazon

When I first saw The Traitor's Heir available for review, I thought it was going to be an enthralling read. The description and cover were fascinating, with a premise I wanted to see explored. Unfortunately, it did not fully live up to my expectations. While there is a good bit to commend about the novel, there is also enough to critic that I was not captivated.

For starters, Eamon is fairly likable character. He is people pleasing and honorable, even at the cost of himself. While those around him insist he look out for himself, he instead looks out for those around him. He is also relateable in his desire to do something worth while and struggles with contradictory messages in the world around him.

Yet as likable as Eamon is, most of the other characters have nothing that sets them as enjoyable characters. The true King has the unfortunate depiction of being a mortal king, who has now power to see the future or any other "divine" characteristics, and yet shown as so perfect (as a symbol of God) that he followed almost without question. I found it hard to care about him one way or the other, and found no worthy reason for Eamon to serve this mortal king.

As to the Master, who is clearly a symbol of Satan, there was also some issues with his depiction. I spent much of the book confused as to whether or not he was mortal as well (as he seems to have powers and has lived for at least 200 years). Other than his Hands, who are depicted as sickly in color, and his attempts to stamp out all followers of the King, he did not seem like a despotic ruler. His people lived in peace and prospered, so that if he were a mortal king and not daemonic, I think he would have been a better ruler than the King.

With a story so laden with symbolism, I would have expected the exact nature of the King and Master to have been more clear, with the Master's reign far more vile. While Eamon is a likable and relatable character, I did not quiet buy into the world. Knowing this, I believe that readers could enjoy The Traitor's Heir, it simply was not for me.

I received this book through Bookfun in exchange for an honest review.

I pasted this review on my blog, Goodreads, Amazon, and Deepershopping.

      "The Traitor's Heir" is book one of "The Knight of Eldaran trilogy." This is a fantasy novel depicting the battle between good and evil. Unfortunately, one can't always tell which is which.
Eamon Goodman has always desired to serve the Master. He wants to be the best cadet possible, in order to impress the "Hands." He looks up to those in leadership and wishes to one day, be just like them. He has been raised to view these men as good.
       This book follows Eamon as he goes through his training and makes choices about following the Master. When he sees a close friend of his burned at the stake, by order of the Master, he starts to question what or whom is truly good. Eamon's journey will take you through many trials, strange lands and you will see that he is a young man of great integrity and brains. When he meets an old friend he thought was deceased he begins to question everything he thought he knew about right and wrong, good and evil.
       Eamon has the Master's voice in his head, reading his thoughts and giving him orders. For a time the King helps him eliminate this voice, but then he allows it back. Whom does he follow? Who is the rightful king? You will have to read the book to find out!
       The Traitor's Heir is a lengthy, action filled novel. I thought it was rather violent, but I could see guys liking the action, torture and battles, as well as enjoying the military type training.
       I received this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. Review posted at Goodreads, Facebook, CBD, DeeperShopping and Amazon.

The cover of this book was definitely enticing but I wasn't sure what to expect, and when it arrived and I saw the size of it, 541 pages, I was wondering what I had got myself in to.

But then I opened the book, and I was hooked.  This is the first in the trilogy, The Knight of Eldaran, and once you read this one, you will definitely want the rest of the series.

This is the story of Eamon and his childhood friends Aeryn, Ladomer and their friend Hughan whom disappeared,  and the choices they make, good or evil, and the consequences of these choices.  Eamon will be told whom he really is, not just the son of the bookbinder but oh so much more.  But how could that be possible when he is often overcome by a dark and sinister voice, telling him lies about who he is, and what he can and can not do.


"The hideous voice crept into his mind, clearer than ever.
'You have no need of him to pour witless sympathies about your feet.  He cannot help you, and would not if he could.  Leave!
Eamon rose to his feet.
Hughan laid his hand on Eamon's arm.  'You needn't listen to him, Eamon.'  His eyes met and held Eamon's own.  'Do you want to sit?'
'Yes,' Eamon whispered.
"Then put the voice behind you, and be at peace.'
At the authority of the King's voice a growl thundered through Eamon's skull.  The voice within suddenly relinquished its hold and died away."  pg. 148

On the way to Dunthruik, having been promoted to Lieutenant, the ship Eamon is traveling on is overtaken by the Wayfarer's and only Eamon and his Cadet Mathaiah Grahaven are left alive. The Hands come upon the hidden village of Wayfarer's, while looking for any survivor's of the downed ship, and Eamon soon realizes that he must give up himself to save the many in hiding. He arranges to meet up with them later, and by then his cadet has decided to join in with him for this adventure.

When they meet up to be taken to Dunthruik the cadet begins to act quite strangely and Eamon is not sure if it is something the Hand has done to Mathaiah or if in fact he is playing.  And continues to worry as he realizes the Hands are taking Mathaiah with them, while leaving Eamon at the West Quarter Guantlet College.  Later while they share in a hunt together Mathaiah shares a little of what happened to him when they were separated.

"It was frightening at first.  But then someone came to me.  I don't know where from, or who he was.  He... he was like Hughan--and yet unlike him.  His face was wrong, yet somehow more right, too, and his voice!  I cannot describe it to you.  there was a kind of light all around him-blue, or white, or sliver all at once...The cadet paused, as though drawing his thoughts into order.  Eamon listened in awe.  'He seemed kind, so I asked him to stay with me.  He wasn't at all frightening.  He knew my name and spoke to me of courage.  He told me that I was a King's man  and that although I was in darkness it couldn't keep me or hold me. He made me feel better--stronger and less afraid.

'He said that the Hands had brought me to Dunthruik and that they wanted to get into my mind--no, 'breach' was the word he used-but that I shouldn't worry, because they would find it unreachable.  He said I was safe and that you would come; he stayed with me until you did and then he left, but I didn't see him go...Then I woke up.'"  pg. 280

Lady Alessia invites Eamon to be her escort at the masque at the palace, and he goes in search of a costume, and finds quite the 'piece'.  He is definitely making a statement.

"On a splintered hanger was a dark pair of trousers with a thin slivered strip running down the seam.  With it hung a pale blue shirt, thinning in the sleeves.  It had a dark blue cloak with a high collar.  But it was the shirt that caught Eamon's eye, for on it were the faded remains of a stitched sword and star...Though a little thinned in places the trousers were well made; their silver seam shimmered in the lamplight.  The shirt sat easily on his shoulders and the cloak, as it fell about him, enfolded him comfortingly.  He felt the embroidery over his heart and was encouraged by it.....

'I think it fits.'

The shopkeeper nodded.  'There's just one more thing.'  He hobbled forward and tugged with a veined hand at the chain showing at Eamon's neck.  The heart of the King spilled forward to shimmer in the light.  'Now it fits,' he whispered, hie old eyes rimming with tears.  pg. 306,307

Although he has good intentions and even desires, he struggles with living in the world, and not being conformed to it.  He struggles with making the right choices, and many times even knowing what the right choice is.

"Had he ever known whom he served?  It was Hughan who had called him First Knight, under that name and with Hughan's blessing, Eamon had come to Dunthruik to aid the King.  Or had he come to rise to Right Hand, to be vested in black and serve the glory of the flame-faced Master?
He had done neither.
'Eamon.'  Her grip tightened on his hand.  'You cannot serve them both.'
'I know.'
'You have to choose.'
It was the truth he had long sought to evade.  Now he faced it.  'I thought I had chosen,' he whispered.  'But I never did.  I suppose I thought that I could pick and choose my fealty.  But I can't.  It has to be all, or nothing.'" pg. 414

A dear friend, colleague is injured in battle and having watched so many die from his mistakes, Eamon does what many of us do at times, we beg.

"He closed his eyes.  He pleaded with the blue light, the King's grace, begging it to overlook his oaths and transgressions, imploring it to come and save a man whose life surely deserved saving.  Was it not but little to ask?
You are not a Serpent's man.  Cease your unseemly pleading.  No grace will come to you, son of Eben.  You serve me.
The voice worked cruelly in his mind and his hope fell, crushed.  No grace would come.  Anderas would die.
He tore his hand away and rose.  He could not stay there."  pg. 461

Although Eamon struggles with choices, it is obvious to him, that many including Aeryn, her father and now his young cadet, once friend, Mathaiah have made their choice and are willing to stand up for their belief no matter the outcome.

"There is no man here to whom I may bend my knee!" Mathaiah gasped, eyes clenched against the pain....
The Master held out one hand.  He laid it on Mathaiah's bare shoulder.  The boy wrenched back as though it brought with it intolerable pain.  Red light roared about the Master's fingertips...Mathaiah howled as the light scoured him, broken sobs from cracked lips....
The red light, stronger than bands or flames, increased, and suddenly Mathaiah was cast on his knees.  There was a horrid crack as they struck the cold, hard floor....
'You may break my body, or make it kneel, 'he gasped, 'but you will not have my heart.  I am a King's man." pg 521, 522

Finally he finds the courage to stand up and face his demons, and make the choice.

"His will and heart rose to the call.  Rising above the insidious, crawling din of the unseen beast that hounded him, he made his choice:
'In the name and grace of the King, get behind me!"  Eamon yelled.  'Do you hear?  Behind me and hence!'
The darkness was gone."  pg 532

This novel reminds me of the writings of C.S. Lewis, in that as you read the story there is a whole different, more intense meaning happening behind the scenes.  I was a little surprised to see the use of some language that I would not expect to find in a Christian book, but based on how it was used I could see it fitting into the story line.  There was also Eamon sharing a bed with Alessia, but the reality is this stuff happens all the time and this section was short and once you turned the page the story moved on.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fast reading book, full of adventure, intrigue, but mostly Eamon and the fact that he was not perfect and struggled much as I do at times.  I would highly recommend this book to Christians and non-Christians alike.  Two thumbs up!!  Pick up this book and see if you don't agree, and run out to get the rest of the series as well.

Thank you to bookfun.org for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

This review has been placed at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Christianbook, Deepershopping, Facebook and Goodreads.

Eamon Goodman is taking his oath to become a member of the Gauntlet. This has been a goal of his for years. At the time he is taking the oath he feels something is speaking to him. This also made him do things he would have never dreamt he would do. This leads to his life being set in turmoil. Then he meets someone that has the same characteristics that he believes in. Now he must choose follow the King or keep the oath.

I was drawn into the story by the story overview plus the fact that it is a fantasy book. After the main character is turned, the reader is not sure which path he is going to take. The characters in the book were so well-written that I caught myself feeling for them and caring for what would happen. I believe that those that enjoy fantasy will also enjoy this book. 

I was given this book by bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review. 

This review was posted on Amazon, Goodreads, CBD, Deeper Shopping, Barnes and Noble, Twitter, Pinterest and Google. Plus my blog: http://ksnapier.blogspot.com/2015/10/book-review-traitors-heir.html

In her debut novel, The Traitor's Heir, Anna Thayer has given readers a new fantasy world to get lost in. The River Realm has its heroes and its enemies. Eamon Goodman, son of a bookbinder, has chosen to serve the Master but finds himself bound as First Knight to the King. The King whose throne was usurped and long held by the Master. Eamon quickly rises to the coveted high rank of Hand in the nasty politics of the Master and yet he has been entrusted with a traitorous task by the King. Can he serve two masters? What, or perhaps even who, will be sacrificed as Eamon struggles to know to whom he must be true. Eamon knows he has to choose. The horrors and cruelties of war, the treacheries of politics and the pull of ambition are evident as this story unfolds. Romance, the stubborn loyalty of friends and the self-denial of a man who takes a flogging for his men reminds the readers of the goodness of humanity in the midst of the horrors all around. The first book of a trilogy, The Traitor's Heir, is a wonderfully written action adventure that leaves the reader eagerly looking forward to the next installment to the story. Eamon has been given a horrendously burdensome command from the Master. Will he be able to complete? Can he do so and remain true to the King?
I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review. I have posted reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Deepershopping.com, Christianbook.com, Booksamillion.com, Bookfun.org, and GoodReads.

Review Title: Be Heir to a Perfect Read! (review of The Traitor's Heir by Anna Thayer)
Reviewer: Janice S. Garey
***** 5 Stars posted on Amazon, Goodreads, Christianbook.com, and Deepershopping

I love this book. I do not read many in this genre, but this one caught my eye because of the author's background. Anna Thayer has that magic touch to her writing that shows the influence of the Inklings. Dig into this book and you will discover treasure. I am not yet finished reading it, but I wanted to let others in on how great this book is for gift giving. It would make a great read-aloud book for a family during the holiday season.

Fantasy requires the reader to enter into another world with unusual names and places unseen in the reader's everyday world. The names and situations in this book are easy to grasp while at the same time they express the extreme tension between good and evil in another world. Some of the story would be scary to younger children, but middle school and above would find much to appreciate in this book.

I thank bookfun.org, the author, and the publisher for giving me this book in exchange for reading and reviewing it. I am under no obligation to post a positive review. That being noted, I highly recommend The Traitor's Heir to all who love fantasy, and to those who wish to read a great tale as an eye in the door to the fantasy genre. If you choose to give this book, expect to hear thanks not only at the time of giving, but expect greater thanks after the book has been read and enjoyed to the full.

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