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The Crimson Sword : Book One of the Legend of Asahiel (Thompson, Eldon. Legend of Asahi by Eldon Thompson
Review by Gayle Surrette
Eos Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0060741503
Date: 01 May, 2005 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Jarom has grown up in the simple forest village of Diln. He's the village Fason or peacekeeper and the only son of the head of the village Elders. But after Jarom and his best friend, Allion, save Queen Ellebe from her pursuers, they are locked out of the Elder's deliberations. When Jarom is finally allowed into the chamber it is to have his world torn apart and turned upside down. He learns that he is Torin, son of Ellebe and King Sorl and the man he has thought of as his father for all these years was only his caretaker and teacher.. What's more, he is expected to go to a neighboring kingdom and raise an army to save the kingdom before the wizard can consolidate his power.

Jarom feels he has no choice but to agree to this scheme and he and Allion set off. But there is more to being a king than being birthed by the Queen. While Jarom has been trained all his life to be a leader and to settle disputes, he feels adrift as the underpinnings of his world are shifted and his place in it changed. He refuses his new name and reluctantly realizes that he must do what he can for the people. But without his identity as Jarom, he struggles to gain solid footing in this new reality he finds himself in.

While the quest is outwardly a search for the Crimson Sword of Asahiel, the true quest is Jarom's search to find himself and his place in the world. Can he be a leader of men? Can he become a King? Does he want to be King?

Along the journey, Jarom meets with others who help, hinder, confuse, advise, challenge, love, and skew his worldview. There's a lot going on in this book: high adventure, love, friendship, meddling wise men, and monstrous demons. There's something for everyone as Jarom strives to save his village, the kingdom, and discover himself. The big surprise for me is that while this is book one of a trilogy, it can and does stand-alone.

What's even more surprising is that this is a first novel. Eldon Thompson has written a different quest story that has enough twists and turns to entertain even the most jaded fantasy reader. There are some rough spots as Jarom whines about his fate and acts as if the world owes him something for being different than what he believed it to be. Seeing the control this author has over the material indicates that as his skills grow with the next book, the story should gain even more depth and twistedness.

Recommended: Give it a try, you'll be glad you did.

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