Friday, September 11, 2015

A Tale of Light and Shadow: Secrets of Neverak by Jacob Gowans


ABOUT THE BOOK

Henry Vestin always believed that, despite being a carpenter with no training in swordplay or survival, he could lead Isabelle and his friends to safety. He thought he could defy an emperor and protect Isabelle from harm. He was certain that love and friendship would help them survive.

He was wrong.

The second volume in the Tale of Light and Shadow series follows Henry and his friends after the disastrous battle at the Iron Pass. Horrors await the band of travelers in strange new lands. Crippled and broken, Henry must rely on his friends more than ever. New allies and foes find them at every turn, but which are friendly and which are deadly? Isabelle, now a slave in Neverak, finds herself surrounded by enemies, uncertain about the fate of her friends, and relying on only herself to survive. The Emperor moves forward with his plans of conquest, spurred on by the Seer’s dark prophecy, but he has not forgotten those who defied him.

Return to the world of Atolas, where swords and daggers extend life or end it, where feuds and friendships influence kingdoms and courtships, and where magic is feared by all but a few.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JACOB GOWANS was raised in Papillion, Nebraska, graduated with a bachelor's degree in theater studies and then moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated from dental school at Case Western Reserve University. Jacob and his wife and three children live in Arizona where he works as a dentist for the Indian Health Services.

REVIEW

It can be hard to find adult fantasy that is clean enough for me to want to read it, but Jacob Gowans series A Tale of Light and Shadow fits the bill nicely. Not only are the characters great but the incredible challenges the characters face kept me turning the pages rapidly.  I was slow to pick up this series because I suspected it would draw me in and never let go and I was right.  Once I met Henry and Isabelle I couldn't help but cheer for them but everything was against them from the beginning, including Isabelle's father.  Here is book two, the pair are separated.  Henry struggles to recover from his injuries while longing to go after Isabelle who is now imprisoned in the Emperor of Neverack's palace being prepared to become one of his concubines.  Isabelle struggles to deal with her circumstances and find a way to escape while having no idea what is happening to Henry or her friends. Not only is the plot one that moves along quickly but I loved the depth of the story as each of the characters faces difficult choices and struggles and because of it they grow.  The complications that ensue as each of the major characters makes choices that directly or indirectly effect all of the others made me anxious to see what was going to happen to them.  Even the secondary characters were of interest as I wondered about motivations and choices they made.  A wonderful, thought-provoking new series from an author to watch.

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