Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Once, in another world—a dark world, the world of Faetta—there lived paladins and pirates, tyrants and scallywags, vampires and the undead. In this world a revolution is brewing. The royalty of Sieunes are in chains, and those priests and paladins who follow the holy word of the gods are under attack. In the west, the kingdom of Kellerhald receives the fleeing priests in their temples of the paladins of Silvius, god of the Sky.
Here, a young woman has just passed her tests to become a paladin. A pirate crew raids along the Azez Sea. An undead creature, wielding great power, roams the graveyard of Yetta. And a lost soul, crying out from beyond the veil, seeks out a pure hearted warrior to hear its plea.
Amid the turmoil of the revolution, Ilka’s mettle is tested. Rescued by pirates, she ends up with an unlikely ally: the pirate captain himself. The newly trained paladin finds herself collaborating with the undead, working with a vampire, and worst of all, longing for revenge against the man who has ignited the revolution in Sieunes: Francois Mond…
Death of an Innocent. Rise of a Paladin.
Book One in the Trilogy of the Tyrant, a stand-alone series set fifteen years after the Trilogy of Shadows.
First, let me just say, that I finished reading this book in ONE evening! I couldn’t put it down. While the beginning was a little confusing, I quickly became engrossed in the story. And I will admit, sometimes it jumps around a bit, but I just kept an open mind that everything would pull together at the end. And now…well, now I can’t WAIT to read the sequel!
The book begins as a barmaid falls victim to a vampire. The next moment, we are dumped into a gruesome scene of carnage as Ilka, paladin of the Temple of Silvius and slayer of the undead, narrowly survives the slaughter of the priests, acolytes, and most heart-wrenching, her fiance. Then – BOOM – we’re on a pirate ship with a burly, quick-to-capture-your-heart Captain Nathaniel Sutton. There was so much going on in the start of this novel. But halfway through, I knew I was staying up to finish it! However, the first third of the book is all about Ilka and her relationship with Nathaniel Sutton – and I was so absorbed with what was developing between them that by the time Ilka returns to her home in Loir, and is healed and fully restored in health and armor, I had quite forgotten about the vampire at the beginning and that being a paladin included fighting and vanquishing the walking dead! So, in my opinion, if the author had included a little more back and forth from Ilka & Nathaniel’s tale to what the vampire Augustine was up to, it would have eliminated my forgetfulness in that aspect.
Honestly, I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about this story that captured and held my attention. There’s action, romance, a little magic, vampires, draughr, mystery…and a killer cliffhanger at the end! I really cannot wait to see what will happen in the next book!
The Emblazoned Red was a fast and highly enjoyable read. It might have been a 5 had it not been for a couple of confusing moments and some parts of the story that I felt the author skipped over that I really would have liked to read (like some more information about The Great Man Francois Mond – although maybe we’ll learn more about him in the next book). For now, this one earns a 4 out of 5 from me. And I will most assuredly be checking out more of Dawn McCullough White’s novels!
He had been following her around the streets of Lockenwood for a good month. He had begun following the moment he had caught sight of her lithe body and her bright red hair. Sometimes he’d sit on top of a roof and just watch as she shopped or left work at night. As he got more daring, he’d slip inside the tavern where she worked, losing himself in the hot, dirty crowd within. His cold, hard body was shoved along through the crowd: peasants, villains, beggars. The poor and the evildoers all jam-packed within the smoke-stained tavern. And there was Rhiannon, fetching swill for each of them.
All of his efforts in the last month were now at their end. They reached the final climax with her death.
Augustine released her limp form and laid her down to rest with her dead baby, and then he sighed because it had come too soon. He had been longing to talk to her, that’s where this generally went. He wanted to get to know her a little before her inevitable death. Wanted to know who she was, what she thought, and what she thought of him. Perhaps he could’ve eased her sorrows for a time … but then, of course, the lust for her blood would’ve gotten the better of him, and he’d have had to kill her. But still, this was basically a wasted month.
Dawn McCullough White is known for her strong female protagonists, and gritty dark fantasy.
Ms. McCullough-White has lived the majority of her life in and around Rochester, NY with a brief stint in Tucson, AZ. She is pursuing a degree in psychology at R.I.T. Dawn is a history buff and was a member of the Society of Creative Anachronism for years, active as a heavy weapons fighter. She currently resides with her husband and son in a quaint neighborhood next to an old cemetery.
Dark Fantasy series the “Trilogy of Shadows”:
>Cameo the Assassin
>Cameo and the Highwayman
>Cameo and the Vampire
Dark Fantasy series the “Trilogy of the Tyrant”:
>The Emblazoned Red
>”The Ghastly Bath” The Gate 2: 13 Tales of Isolation and Despair
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And now…THE GIVEAWAY:
I received a free copy of The Emblazoned Red from the author through PixelPR Host in exchange for an honest review.