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A Lady is dead. Her noble line ended. And the King’s Reaper has come to reclaim her land and her home. In the marches of Aedaron, only one thing is for certain. All keeps of the old world must fall.
Elinor struggles to find her place in the new world. She once dreamed of great things. Of becoming a hero in the ways of the old world. But now she is a Reaper. And her duty is clear. Destroy the old. Herald the new.
A Reaper of Stone is a novella written by Mark Gelineau and Joe King. It is the first part of an ongoing series, Echoes of the Ascended. The authors appear to be starting a huge project, and I am quite curious about what comes next.
Elinor is the primary character, and she’s a tough, quick-witted, loyal sort. She’s the type who can, in the prologue, take out a pair of gigantic swamp-worms with a sword, and then say, “From the stories, I thought they would be bigger.” She eventually becomes a Reaper. I am not entirely sure what a Reaper does beyond acting as a functionary for the government, leading a group of engineers to destroy the castles of opposing (or potentially opposing) nobles, but I have a feeling we’ll find out more in a future work.
Conbert is an engineer who is loyal to Elinor and serves early on as another set of eyes. Most of the book focuses on Elinor, though.
We learn a bit about Razors, but there is a lot more to learn about them. They have supernatural strength, but where does it come from? What is the process like to become a Razor? I am sure this will come about in some of Gelineau and King’s future works.
I really enjoyed the world-building here, the myths and legends are tangible and the world’s history lingers just beneath the surface of the storyline. I loved the resolution.
I was left with a lot of questions that will likely be filled in as the series continues. The writing is competent, the characters are interesting enough, and the cover art will certainly draw some readers in. The project is ambition, and after checking out their website, I am excited to see what else they have cooking.
The girl put a hand on his shoulder. Her voice was low. “Whatever happens next. You mustn’t move.”
And then the ground underneath the horse exploded upward and a pale white form the size of a wagon erupted into the air. The horse let out a scream that turned into a wet gurgle as white writhing tentacles enveloped the animal. The copper tang of blood filled the air and Conbert felt his stomach lurch.
He thought to go for the sword he carried at his side but he saw the girl’s eyes.
He held himself still as another of the creatures breached the drowning grass. It was a huge mass of rippling white flesh, except at the front where the mouth opened like an exposed wound. Massive tearing fangs lined the pink maw, and white tentacles writhed from the worm’s throat, seeking the remnants of the thrashing horse. The two monsters tore the horse apart in seconds, powerful tentacles flaying meat from bone with horrific efficiency.
As the rendworms began to slide across the ground in their direction, Con felt a terror urging him to run. He fought against it, trying to focus instead on the perfect stillness of the young girl. The huge worms slid past them.
And then as Con held his breath, the girl moved.
The young cadet was fast and sure as she darted forward. She struck out with the mace, swinging it with both hands, and smashing it into the rendworm’s side. There was a loud crack, and Con knew that somewhere inside the sinuous horror a bone had broken under the blow.
About the Authors
Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories together for the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.
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