The Gift-Knight’s Quest is my first self-published fantasy novel. All paperback copies were printed through Matador, the self-publishing imprint of Troubador Books Ltd, who also prepared the ebook releases on iTunes, B&N Nook, Amazon Kindle, and the Kobo store.
Standard description from the Troubador website:
Chandra never asked to rule Kensrik, but fate took a strange course. Known as a usurper and sorceress by most and traumatised by all that has transpired, she is forced to make use of the few loyal allies she has in order to hold together her restless empire. In an attempt to identify and defeat the conspirators who inadvertently landed her in power, Chandra risks putting the lives of many in mortal danger, as well as her own.
Derek is an aimless wanderer – the youngest in a lineage that has long fallen from nobility. He finds himself summoned by tradition to serve a family historically considered his bitter enemy. As he journeys down the same path a fateful ancestor once travelled, he struggles with personal demons and begins to reconsider his loyalty to the mission.
Duke Lenn found one true cause in love and it cost him everything. His legacy shaped the present in which Chandra and Derek find themselves. Now their choice will shape the future of Kensrik…
The Gift-Knight’s Quest is set in a new and vividly imagined world, written with delicate prose that will allow the reader to explore with their imagination. Inspired by authors such as Michael Moorcock, J. G. Ballard and Roger Zelazny, it will appeal to fans of fantasy and historical fiction.
Paperback copies are also available directly from the author and at Bakka Phoenix Books in Toronto.
Review by Diane Donovan
Chandra takes the throne when the King and Queen die, but her reign is heavy, requiring her to lead an empire suspicious that instead of being a leader, she’s an assassin. The burden of proof falls on her to prove both her innocence and, simultaneously, her ability to be a ruler.
Derek is her personal guard, but he’s no different than the rest of the populace in suspecting that his new queen isn’t all that she says she is – especially since her family’s ancestors once ruined his own chances at leading a very different, more privileged life.
Take two disparate individuals; one struggling to prove her innocence; the other convinced of her guilt but bound by order and convention to help her. Add a plot that moves from past to present influences as Chandra struggles with mandate, an unwanted and unexpected new role, and her own suspicions. Then stir in Derek’s own struggles with his past for a fantasy story filled with subplots, special interests, and two very different individuals struggling with heritage and coming of age.
The Gift-Knight’s Quest may sound like an entertaining read, but it’s replete with complexity. There’s much background and underlying influences to transmit in the course of the story, so readers expecting a linear read might find themselves unexpectedly immersed in the flashbacks and dialogue required to fully explain the setting and influences of the past and why the characters are at different pivot points in each of their lives. The dialogue between various characters at both upper and lower levels of society offers many insights about the kingdom and its rulers, however, and is not extraneous to the story, but supports it nicely: “We’re taking control of our lives and careers.” She replied. “Why should either of us worry about that?” Lucen had a swig from his own chalice. “I sometimes wonder if our advisors don’t think it’s prudent to control people who are becoming more like them.”
Where other writers might have glossed over details or injected and revealed them later in the story’s progression, Dylan Madeley takes the time to build a firmer foundation than many fantasies hold – and this means that readers expecting nonstop action and adventure could feel that the attention to detail is too slow and steady.
It’s only after this foundation is built that the real action begins to build, and suddenly – having absorbed the personalities and backgrounds of individuals and kingdoms – readers are hooked.
What aspiring youngster doesn’t believe him/herself to be unique, holding the ability to make a difference in the world – especially one born to privilege or to a clan with a set mission in the world? Readers who take the time to absorb the full-bodied social and political structure of this world will be more than rewarded with a rich, multi-faceted story line that draws one into a realm replete with struggle and change, laying the foundation for a series recommended for fantasy fans who like their stories complex and well-detailed.
(Source: Donovan’s Literary Services, January 2017)