Back From Chaos

Rated 4.92/5 based on 12 reviews
Klast, the loner, must save a maid, unmask a traitor, and make peace with his destiny; a most unlikely hero, chosen by Earth to restore Her Balance. More
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About Yvonne Hertzberger

Yvonne Hertzberger is a native of the Netherlands who immigrated to Canada in 1950. She is married with two grown children, (one married) and resides quietly in Stratford, Ontario with her spouse, Mark in a 130 year old, tiny, brick cottage, where she plans to live out her retirement. She calls herself a jill-of-all-trades and a late bloomer. Her many past paid jobs included banking, day care, residential care for challenged children, hairdressing (her favourite) retail, and customer service. She enjoys gardening, singing, the theatre, decorating and socializing with friends and family
Hertzberger is an alumna of The University of Waterloo, first with a B.A. in psychology, then and Hon. B.A. Sociology and stopped ½ a thesis short of an M.A. in Sociology. She has always been an avid student of human behaviour. This, and her personal experiences are what give her the insights she uses to develop the characters in her writing.
Hertzberger came to writing late in life, hence the label ‘late bloomer’. Her first Fantasy novel “Back From Chaos: Book One of Earth’s Pendulum” was published in 2009. The second volume in the planned trilogy “Through Kestrel’s Eyes” is available currently and the third book in the trilogy “The Dreamt Child” was published in December 2013.

Learn more about Yvonne Hertzberger
About the Series: Earth's Pendulum
A Fantasy trilogy set in a low tech world. The idea that history acts much like a pendulum, swinging from chaos to peace and back again and that Earth, symbolized as a goddess, suffers from chaos and is healed by cooperation and peace. The effects show in whether harvests are poor or good, the people prosper or suffer and so on. Each volume also contains aspects of romance, and action. The stories are heavily character based and follow characters from one book to the next. Back From Chaos, then Through Kestrel's Eyes, and lastly The Dreamt Child

Also in Series: Earth's Pendulum

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Fajriy Arunna reviewed on on April 11, 2017

A compelling first in a series fantasy read with paranormal and strong romance elements. Set in two kingdoms united after the war, the world building of this story is great with lively, strongly felt atmosphere changes from the chaos after the war into the rebuilding throughout the kingdom, and through the devastating plague. The plot is somewhat intriguing with the hardships the main characters must face, even though some events are not so unexpected. The characters are well developed, especially the main characters. Even though the main characters are not so believable, somewhat too good to be true, it did not lessen the enjoyment during the reading.
(review of free book)
KP Ambroziak reviewed on on May 21, 2016

This is the first work of Yvonne Hertzberger I have read, but it will not be my last. I picked up the free read from Amazon without knowing what to expect, and was pulled in from the opening pages. Hertzberger writes with an uncommon elegance, lending her story important details without weighing it down in extraneous prose. The pace is close to perfect, and the narrative moves its reader along without effort. Despite the simplicity of the story, I was wholly absorbed and rapidly turning pages from short chapter to chapter. Though this is the first book in her "Earth’s Pendulum" series, it doesn’t leave you hanging but leaves you wanting more.

Perhaps that’s the thing. Hertzberger introduces characters easy to care for, while at the same time invites her reader into a modern medieval world she won’t want to leave. I think, however, the most successful aspect of this story is the romance. The compassion and attraction between the characters is deeply-rooted, and invokes a visceral reaction. I have admitted elsewhere that I am drawn to moments of literary romance, and for me, it’s not something a writer can fake. I think when done well, the reader is moved by the characters and the feelings they express for one another. Again, this can’t be put on. Like Rochester’s and Jane’s repartee, where love bleeds from the seams despite sardonic quips, deft flirtations and parries, Hertzberger’s dialogue channels romance and the romantic on every level. Even her descriptions of food serve to romanticize the atmosphere as a complement to her tightly-woven narrative. A great writer can pull this off without effort, and for me, Hertzberger is in that class.

There’s everything to love about "Back From Chaos" … I couldn’t put it down.
(review of free book)
?wazithinkin reviewed on on March 14, 2016

This is an engrossing story that includes war, espionage, politics, spirituality, and a bit of romance to boot. There are several characters in this book that are listed at the beginning. I found this list intimidating but plowed ahead hoping I could keep up with all of them. The story centers on Gaelen, second son of the King of Bargia, who is thrust into power after the death of the king and his oldest son during a battle at the beginning of the story, and his advisors. As the characters were brought into play, I had no problem keeping up with them and the roles they played. The main characters are all well developed and easily believable. The matters of state which Gaelen had to deal with were tedious to me but essential to the story over all.

There are no fantasy creatures in this story; the only magical element was perhaps the spiritual belief that we ourselves affect our environment and the world as a whole. Oh, well, there was a prophetess, a true seer who Gaelen called upon occasionally. If you enjoy the political workings of a society, spy games, mercenaries, and mistresses I believe you will enjoy this story as well. The plot moves along at a nice pace encompassing all matters of this demesne (the term for the land under control of a lord) and those surrounding it.

What captivated me was the relationship between Klast, the king’s assassin, and Brensa, a lady in waiting. Both are badly broken souls that need healing and whose futures seem to hold dominion over the prosperity of the kingdom as a whole. I found it fascinating and their journey became very important to me. I do tend to get involved in the emotional aspects of the characters I read; this is where I think any story’s strength lie. Ms. Hertzberger was able to capture and express the emotions of all her characters, be it love or treachery, throughout the entire novel. This books storyline is complete; there were no cliff-hangers to draw you into the next book, although I am very interested to see what happens next. This is a great story on all levels.

FYI: British spelling and some ‘Old World’ word usage. **Originally written for "BigAl’s Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** September 1, 2013
(review of free book)
Patricia Reid reviewed on on Dec. 25, 2014

Enjoyed the story line. The intrigues and the plots were well orchestrated into a lovely symphony.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
Ey Wade reviewed on on Oct. 30, 2014

I find it funny how so many of the reviewers stated "fantasy is not something I read, but" Well, I am one of those. I usually run from the genre not wanting to get lost in things so far out of my sense of reality. I felt connected to this novel because it basically shows how everything helps or hinders something or someone else. In my mind the title has many meanings and it shows in the lives of the characters.
The storyline is easy to follow, the complexity of the characters (though sometimes hard to accept) is beautifully written. The author has a good handle on expressing emotions and pulling them out of you. I was truly entertained while reading Back From Chaos and recommend it to others.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
RH Ramsey reviewed on on Sep. 24, 2014

Where do I start? So many layers. Not at all what I'd expected -- in a good way. I will try not to ramble, but I want to include specific parts, and things that I noticed and truly enjoyed.

"When the people lived in harmony, Earth supplied them
with what they needed. But when they acted with violence and destruction, such as in times of
war, She had not the power to sustain Her support. Each needed the other. Thus swung the pendulum of Balance."

Not only did I read this story feeling as if I had every bit of information needed to follow closely, utterly engaged and intrigued with no confusion -- yet just enough mystery. Knowing Marja's history of betrayal, watching her own father lose his mind, it is difficult for her to trust. I shared her hesitance, and with each encounter with Gaelen and the rest of his people, I wondered what would be revealed.

My one and only "issue" would be in the way Marja, whose highly analytical nature (such a complex mind, which I very much enjoyed delving into), so quickly declared her trust in (I won't say his name -- no spoiler!!) especially with the concerns she mentioned (in her inner thoughts).

"Messalia let Sinnath lead where he wanted to go. She could see no personal stake in the outcome. Her position was secure. But she enjoyed intrigue, and it amused her to see where
men’s minds led them. This new twist might prove very interesting."

Characters like Messalia, were a great touch, and quite fascinating. Gaelan, in all of his conflict, and perceived level-headedness, (and the way he pinched his nose) brought something quite special to the story as well.

The dialogue was stunning. At times, there were things that I felt I should have seen coming, but because I was so wrapped up the strategies and the thoughts of the characters, I wondered, "how'd I not see that coming?"

In many scenes, the dialogue was so tightly weaved, cutting from words, to expressions, to tone of voice, back to words, and once again the actions of the character speaking. I was never left in the dark about what was happening, yet not once did I feel as the way I processed the characters was forced.

Marja - what an observant, intelligent, strong woman, even in her predicament.At one point, I thought to myself: So sad that clean hair, a bath, her old friends, and things of her past, were called ghosts. It was interesting to me, the way she viewed Klast, my personal favorite character; he, too, was referred to, as a ghost. With Klast's ability to fade into the background, she said that he made her skin crawl. I found this quite interesting, as the man who "bought him," when he was just a boy, made me absolutely sick -- made my skin crawl. Once, again, such lovely descriptions, drawing visceral reactions!

Poor Klast. I truly connected with him, when he connected with the pain and dark, traumatized state of (no spoilers: an integral character in the book). "He felt her go limp, and watched her retreat into that inner world that admits no pain or shame."

Back From Chaos, is an unexpected, myriad of emotions, and I could not ask for a better ending. Where will the story go, as we follow the precocious Liannis? I'll bet it will be quite a ride.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
Joe Hinojosa reviewed on on Aug. 22, 2014

I stayed up late last night, reading today’s novel, Back From Chaos by Yvonne Hertzberger. Back From Chaos is the first book of the Earth’s Pendulum series, which I believe is a solid foundation to begin with.

The book begins with Marja, daughter of Cataniast, lord of Catania, hiding in the castle. Bargia, a country which borders Catania invaded and managed to overthrow Cataniast. Marja only thought was of survival, but also gave thought to killing herself to save herself the terror of being captured and raped. As a member of the ruling family, she knew that tradition dictated that she be killed.

She had begun her escape when a soldier of the invading force opened the door and caught her in the act. He announced himself as Lord Gaelen of Bargia, and requested that she put down her knife, promising that no harm would come to her. In spite of the danger to herself and her people, something in his voice makes her relent. She is taken captive and held prisoner in her own room.

Lord Gaelen, finding himself the only surviving heir of his people, his father and elder brother both tragically killed in the invasion, decides to take an unorthodox approach. He presents Marja with a proposal, one that would guarantee her safety and her freedom, that she join him as his wife. Seeing the logic behind the proposal, she agrees.

Unbeknownest to the pair, the fate of their peoples, of Cataniast and Bargia is bound to their success. Indeed, it is Earth who through the seer Liethis, who demands an end to violence and a return to balance. In restoring balance, it is neither Lord Gaelen nor Lady Marja who are destined to be the main players, but rather Gaelen’s chief spy, Klast, and Marja’s lady in waiting, Bresna, who become the focus of Earth and her desire for balance.

Klast, whose childhood had enured him to hardships, hardening him against the advances of women and the company of men, whose ability to blend into the crowd and disappear, who had fortified himself against his own emotions, now must come to terms with his destiny.

It is through Bresna that he must decide his fate, and the fate of the mankind. It is though the act of saving her that he himself might save himself. His destiny is bound by oath to the house of Bragia, first to Gaelen’s father and then to Gaelen himself. Can he save both Cataniast and Bargia, as well as Bresna and himself.

What does Earth demand of him and why?

First let me start off by saying I cannot do this book justice by trying to summarize it in such a short amount of space. How can I categorize this? There seems to be many ways to do so. Fantasy to be sure, but there are elements of political intrigue, stories of love and romance. There are issues of rape, child abuse and hints of sexual abuse as well. There are graphic details of death and executions. This is not a feel good book.

That being said, it is a well-written book, one that captivates the reader. Once cannot help but root for Gaelen and Marja as they try to unite their homes against the attack of treason member of their inner circle. One is hard-pressed not to feel for Bresna as she suffers the indignation of being attacked and seeing Klast rescue her, and by doing so, seeing his defenses fall away in spite of himself.

Yvonne has written a book filled with many elements that together make up an elaborate tapestry, a story of pain to be sure, but out of that pain the birth of something greater. Out of it, there can be found a peace, all the more richer for the trials endured to earn it. But first the character’s must find a way to surrender themselves to their destiny, and find a way despite their reservations.

Once I began to read it, I was loathe to put it down, which I had to when my Kindle died. I picked it back up once my battery had recharged, eager to see where the trials would lead, and I was not disappointed. I was both surprised and pleased, primed to pick up the next installment of the series.

In short, I give this 5 out of 5 stars. It’s a great book with a riveting story line, characters rich in detail and subtleties. I cannot recommend Back From Chaos enough!
(reviewed 34 days after purchase)
Glynis Smy reviewed on on July 25, 2014

Fantasy, Action, Romance, and more - much more! From the first page the book kept me captivated. Each character has character, and their lives entwine well.

The author has written a story with a genre twist, and it works.

A tale full of emotion of varying types. One I enjoyed and am happy to recommend.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
Ed Drury reviewed on on June 13, 2014

Back From Chaos is an excellent sword and sorcery fantasy novel most remarkable for its wonderful characters. There are two essential love stories contained within the larger epic which are both endearing. One is the classic prince and princess fairy tale that retains its charm in spite of the obvious happily every after cliché. But the other, more interesting one is between a spy and a lady of the court and is most surprising and engaging. For fans of the sword and sorcery genres, as well as romantics of every stripe, this is a wonderfully entertaining read. It is filled with betrayal, conspiracy, intrigue, and romance. An enjoyable start to what promises to be a very rich and entertaining series.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
Charles Ray reviewed on on March 4, 2014

A good sword and sorcery novel has to be a combination of the fantastic with the believable if it is to work. Yvonne Hertzberger’s Back From Chaos, the first book in her Earth’s Pendulum series, has just that – a fantasy world of seers and magic described in a way that makes suspending disbelief an easy task.
I received a free review copy of Back From Chaos, which I started reading on one of the coldest days of this winter, and just after a March snowstorm and plummeting temperatures left me stranded in my suburban home. Turned out to be one of the best ways to deal with being snowbound that I could have come up with.
Kudos to Hertzberger for creating a totally believable world, peopled by characters we can identify with, love, hate – but, most importantly, believe. From Klast, the spy-assassin, who seems to start out as a supporting character, but is in fact central to much of the story, to Marja, the last surviving member of her family after an invading army kills the rest, we’re introduced to people who feel real.
I reserve five-star ratings for books that impress me deeply. Back From Chaos gets an easy five stars.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Greta Burroughs reviewed on on May 4, 2013

I like fantasy books, but I'm picky about the ones I read. I don't care for the ones that get too far out and hard to follow. I prefer fantasies that follow the traditional path and have elements of magic, conflict and a story that keeps my interest. "Back From Chaos" totally filled the bill.
The characters and the story were very well developed. I could picture the scenes as I read the book and I have to admit, I cried a little in a few spots. When I get totally absorbed in a book and don't want to put it down, it is a good read!
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
Greta Burroughs reviewed on on May 4, 2013

I like fantasy books, but I'm picky about the ones I read. I don't care for the ones that get too far out and hard to follow. I prefer fantasies that follow the traditional path and have elements of magic, conflict and a story that keeps my interest. "Back From Chaos" totally filled the bill.
The characters and the story were very well developed. I could picture the scenes as I read the book and I have to admit, I cried a little in a few spots. When I get totally absorbed in a book and don't want to put it down, it is a good read!
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)

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