Review: Spirit of the King, by Bruce Blake


I am so excited! Honestly, I am. Because I get a chance to show you how brilliant this author really is.

Bruce Blake received The Life Changing Read Award for the first book in Khirro’s Journey series, Blood of the King. I thought that book was awesome, but the sequel is so much better!

Khirro now carries King Braymon’s spirit within himself, and his cowardice dissipates in the face of the enormous task ahead of him: to reinstate the King to his rightful position, at the top of his kingdom. With Athryn by his side, the only other survivor of the events at the Necromancer’s Keep, Khirro is struggling to find the strength within himself, the mettle he expects he should have – King Braymon’s battle spirit, the white tyger – which is as elusive as Athryn’s magic is to the magician.

As a secondary thread, we come closer to the Archon, who looks like she is winning all her wars. She has Graymon, King Therrador’s son, in her grasp, and now she is also raising the dead, scheming her way to Khirro’s demise. I’ve already said too much about the plot. Any more, and it would become a spoiler. I’d far rather you read the whole novel, because that way you will get the full impact of the terror and darkness, and you’ll live rather than just read the book.

Bruce Blake’s characterization is flawless. He is equally at home in the mind of a six year-old boy, that of a traitorous king, and that of an assassin. Dialogue flows naturally, and neatness of description makes you feel as if you’re part of every scene. I did not want to put the book down. The pace carried me on until the end, suspense glued me to the screen. The author’s knack for building suspense is something I have mentioned before – it is complete mastery. Just as you think your blood can’t possibly race any quicker, there’s a bit of a respite, a few paragraphs maybe, a bit of humour (oh, so fine!), you take a breath and then you’re wound even tighter and slammed right into the action once again.

I can’t imagine there would be anyone who wouldn’t enjoy reading this book. It is a little dark, yes, but not enough to give nightmares to lovers of epic fantasy. It’s fast-paced, action end-to-end, more of an avalanche kind of story. I loved it and would recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone. Can’t wait for book three. Five huge, shiny stars from me.

And now, with the  author’s permission, I’d like to share a small excerpt. Seen through the eyes of the assassin, a woman, this exemplifies perfectly what I was saying about dialogue, neatness of description and fine humour. Her sections are written in first person.

A few yards separate my hiding place from where they stand reviewing their options, but they have no idea I’m here. I’m a shadow, a wraith. Another minute passes and I begin to wonder why the delay. Usually the prospect of plunder is a strong pull for men of their ilk. Something else holds them back. Is it the tower?

“Wanna go now?” the smaller one asks.

“Hmm. What about the demon woman what’s been killin’ everyone?”

I smile. It’s me stopping them.

“Pfft.” The smaller one slaps his knee. “There’s no demon woman. Someone got mad and killed them, that’s all.”

“A whole tavern full?” The big one scratches his ass again—fleas or nerves.

“Sure. Happens. Fystal says–”

“I don’t care what Fystal says,” the big one snaps, afraid.

The smaller one turns to him, his eyebrow crooked. “You ain’t afraid of a woman, are you?”

Ass scratch. “No. No, I ain’t afraid of no woman.”

“Let’s go then.”

I’ve heard enough. It’s time to make them afraid of a woman.


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