The Knight’s Secret

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The Knight's Secret (The Mage Conspiracy Book 1)

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...certainly one for fantasy fans to enjoy, and perhaps also for those who like to consider morals of an empire in turmoil...

Just before he is due to leave for the capital, Knight and Hero of the Realm, Sir Corbin Destrus dies unexpectedly. In order to keep up pretences, his granddaughter Kelsa takes his role and with the aid of a magic spell assumes his form to convince all is well. However, when she arrives for the reunion, the capital is in shock as the Emperor of the realm was struck down by a rogue faction of mages. His daughter and now Empress is determined to root out and destroy all mages, despite the army being half mage and half cavalry. As Kelsa tries to continue in her grandfather’s place, relying on the stories and tales she has been told to play the part, she finds intrigue and danger wherever she goes. This includes the formation of the new Black Guard, whose purpose is to carry out the Empress’ will and how want to entice Sir Corbin from his retirement as a figurehead. Kelsa has to decide how to protect the living as well as the reputation of the still great Sir Corbin.

This is a story which is perhaps as much steam-punk as it is fantasy involving magic, dragons and technology all rolled into one. The plot is an intriguing one, body morphing included, and when you get to the end that leads to all sorts of interesting moral questions about just what exactly did happen during this story. Both in terms of the actions of the empire and Kelsa. There is a lot of description of the current state of the world, the people, how it all came to be, but this heavy exposition does come at the price of the events happening, and it is only towards the end does the pace finally pick up to provide the action it seems to have promised from the start. The main characters are well fleshed out, but there are only a few of them, the remaining cast relegated to bit-parts in the world, though at least they are used to show what the world is like instead of just talking about it. There are a few minor spelling mistakes in a couple of places but in general, it reads well, but even as a fantasy, the descriptions clearly come though and it is very easy to understand what is happening, even with unfamiliar terms. A glossary is helpfully added to the end of the book, along with a list of the main characters.

Overall, it’s a slow world building start to a series, that will hopefully pick up in later stories. This is certainly one for fantasy fans to enjoy, and perhaps also for those who like to consider morals of an empire in turmoil, those who stand on either side and how it can affect everyone.

Rating: 3
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