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This is the story of Shield Brother Harruvard and how he was brought low.

It chronicles his raw descent from honorable soldier to deserter and traitor, and into the infamous bloody and screaming mercenary that is his inevitable destiny. There are plenty of dark themes that carry the plot whistling forward.

 Harruvard is not a hero. But his gritty authenticity shines through the melancholic setting of this novel. He could be any man, and every man. In a circumstance where most fantasy authors would elevate a hero, Harruvard defies expectations and becomes the opposite. He has few redeemable traits…which makes him highly relatable. I became very emotionally invested in his story.

I couldn’t put the novel down, and I really needed to.

This is both a complaint and a high praise. If Harruvard had been one fraction more of a man, and those who relied on him one whit less vulnerable to his failings, I might have had a different night.

The reader can anticipate what’s coming. The tone of the novel promises no happy endings from the start. It’s like staring at a train wreck the moment before impact. You want to look away, but you just can’t.

And the novel delivers.

The ending was gruesome and highly satisfying. I am looking forward to reading the next installment in this series.