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I was one of those kids who daydreamed his way through school. All the little adventures I'd concoct in my mind were far more interesting than math or tests or sport. Somehow, I passed the important bits (art and english) and moved on, but always with a creative perspective to my life.
It was around 1992 when the magic of reading really sunk into me, for it was then I discovered fantasy novels. Feist, Salvatore & Eddings showed me worlds that fired my imagination, and from that point on I knew I wanted to write the stories that flitted around the recesses of my imagination.
Unfortunately, I spent most of the next fifteen years dealing with poor health, including resultant chronic fatigue syndrome which interfered with my life immeasurably, but gave me ample time for thought. An abortive attempt to create a story happened around 1996, but I look back on such things as stepping stones on the road to where I wanted to be.
My first complete novel was actually done back in '03, but it was a derivative work based on elements from other stories, something I didn't realise until after I'd written it. The mind can do funny things if you don't keep it on a tight leash! Still, there were some unique points to the story I kept, so I scrapped the rest and began a completely new for Neverwinter Nights, that RPG video game thing you may or may not have heard of.
The story was so successful (filled with rich, creamy character development) that I lamented that only people playing the game would ever see it. In 2009, with my health improving, I resolved to novelize the stories I'd written, in addition to developing the world in which they exist as the basis for a new fantasy series.
I consider those stories to be merely the first iteration of the saga, for my novels have evolved far beyond the original scope, in terms of detail, plot and character building. Looking back on it now, I can see my style has evolved a very long way from those humble beginnings indeed.
Oh, I also paint. You can expect to see more cover art with each title, becoming more technically sophisticated each time.
John H. Carroll
on Nov. 20, 2014 :
As it says in the description, this story picks up two years after the 4th book ends. It is the beginning of a new series in a way, though staring many of the same characters. Aiden, the main character in all the books is wiser, yet troubled. He's been working as a pawn . . . errr politician . . . errr baron, running the fortress he helped rescue. The moment word comes that someone needs help, he blows that popsicle stand and gets back to adventuring as is only proper.
Danger, betrayal, a conspiracy or three, more danger, surprise old friends, new dangerous frenemies, yet more danger, dragons, elves, dwarves and . . . did I mention danger? face our group.
The characters in the story have evolved even more and the interpersonal relationships show an intriguing complexity. Mr. Nowland weaves the moral conflict of what good and evil truly are as he puts the characters in quandaries that would drive a normal person to madness. The characters do the best they can to survive, all the while keeping how they truly feel about the author to themselves.
The battles are intense as always and there's no telling who will make it and who won't. It feels as though the reader is there beside the characters, worrying for their safety. Even more powerful spells light up the battlefield, taking the imagination to new heights.
As far as criticism, I would have liked to see a new major character thrown in the mix with the adventurers. I think it could have given everyone a new dynamic to work off of. Toward the end there was one person that was part of a twist I didn't see coming. I believe that character will be more prominent in the next book and I look forward to it.
This book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving the reader desperate to get their hands on the next one. I'm going to be very interested to see how it turns out.
As with all of Mr. Nowland's books, the dialogue has humor scattered throughout, the battle scenes are vivid and intense. If you enjoy rousing, epic adventures, this is an excellent series for you.
(reviewed the day of purchase)