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Christopher W. Wilcox, Sr.
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After young Rory sees the woman who raised him murdered by marauding soldiers, he embarks on a path that alters his life forever. First, he finds he is the only surviving heir to the Duchy of Westfell as well as being the son of the Crown Prince of the Forest Lords. What he is yet to learn is whether he can survive as the central figure in the on-going war between the forces of Life and the servants of the Dark.
Rory peered through the brush where he had hidden as the Outlander soldiers rode away from the flaming remains of what had been his home. He hadn’t been there when they arrived; he’d been hunting for game in the forest. It was the sound of Grandmother Abigail’s screams that had brought him back through the dense woods. Fearing the worst, he had slowly crawled the last quarter of a mile through the densest shrubs he could find to mask his approach from the marauding soldiers. The small log cabin was already in flames when he reached a spot where he could see the clearing, and he had seen two of the soldiers casually toss Abigail’s body into the flames before they mounted their horses and rode away.
Tears made tracks down his dirty face as the roof of the cabin collapsed. Gone. Everything he had ever known in life was now gone; destroyed by a senseless act of brutality by the Outlanders. Grandmother Abigail had raised him out here in the deep woods and, for as long as he could remember, it had just been the two of them. In addition to practical things dealing with surviving in the forest through the different seasons, she had also taught him how to read and write. For a no-name lad of sixteen, Rory was probably far more educated than anyone other than the great nobles of the kingdom. Now, she was gone and he had no idea what to do.
He eased his way out of the thicket into which he had crawled and walked down to the remains of his home. The small broken spade he had meant to fix yesterday was still lying near what had been the back wall of the cabin, so Rory picked it up and carried it over to what had been Abigail’s favorite spot; the small bend in the creek where an abundance of wildflowers bloomed every spring. Kneeling in the center of the spot, he began to dig using the broken spade. First, he carefully lifted up the sod and moved it aside. Then he dug the grave itself. Abigail had not been a very big woman to begin with and he knew little would remain after the fire, but what was left would be respectfully interred where she would be safe from any marauding animals.
The fire was just embers as he sifted through the ashes for her remains. Reverently, he gathered the bones and fragments and gently placed them in the grave. Once he was sure he had found all that remained of Abigail, he filled in the grave and replaced the sod over the top of it. He edged the area with smooth rocks from the creek. He bent his head and quietly said a small prayer to the All-Father.
By now, the sun had completely set and the full spring moon had risen in the sky. When he was growing up, there had been many nights where he had heard night predators prowling around outside their cabin so Rory knew he had to find some kind of shelter in which to pass the night. After retrieving his bow and arrow quiver, he climbed high into one of the trees at the edge of the clearing. He settled himself as best he could, wrapped his arms around his chest in an effort to ward off the chill, and went to sleep.
Rory's life is transformed from the existence of a nobody to being the heir of royalty after his mother is murdered by evil men. He journeys to his grandfather, the Duke of Westfell's, home where he is welcomed and learns that not only was his mother the daughter of a duke, but the father who was barred from his life is an elven prince. Thus, he begins learning how to be one of the nobility and discovering skills that make him a valuable warrior. However, his mother's slaying was only the first dark deed. Jealous men and far darker beings have evil plans for the realm, endangering not only the world of men, but the elves and dwarves as well. Yet, against the vile machinations stand Rory, whose love and whose gifts have made him into a warrior well suited to stop the darkness.
This tale of Rory's journey to maturity is sweeping in its scope. Mr. Wilcox's world building skills are effective, telling us all we need to know without going into the excessive detail that often makes epic fantasy ponderous and boggy. Fans of Mercedes Lackey in particular should find this a good addition to their shelves, as the tone of the story has a great deal in common with her Valdemar saga.
Review by Amanda Killgore
“The Heir of Westfell is the open door, an invitation to a new series of adventures from Christopher Wilcox, Sr., author of the best selling Aethereal series. If you enjoy the days of olde, pixies, nymphs, sexy Forest Lords and wenches, and the special brand of magic that holds them all together, you'll thoroughly enjoy The Heir of Westfell.” - Reviewed By MargeAnna Conrad, Novelspot
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 458
Paper Weight (lb): 19.0
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