Review By Don Sloan
Two Heirs is a first-class science fiction tale with elements not normally found in the genre — among them, swordplay, horses, and telepathic princes. In fact, this first part in a three-part trilogy has all the makings of an epic classic.
David Held is not the man he appears to be. A deadly swordsman, he’s also a natural leader. So, when he appears out of nowhere to take the lives of two very bad men, the band they were leading begin saluting him and calling him “milord.”
It’s just a side benefit in a perilous quest for Held — the quest to find and save the heir to an entire planet.
He traces the teen-aged Lord Jeren to the dusty plains of a world dominated by warlords and peopled with a pre-industrial civilization. Many are wandering gypsies, like the tribe to which Jeren belongs.
Trouble is, Held can’t use any of his off-world fighting expertise in recovering the lad. They’ve all been stripped away — along with the knowledge of who he really is — so that he doesn’t violate any of the Imperial dictums for interfering in a backward culture.
Still, he does the best he can, skillfully dispatching marauding renegades and rescuing dozens of kidnapped children in the course of his mission.
Young Lord Jeren surprises everyone — including his elders at the council — by declaring that he will march at the head of a conquering army to retake the glittering city of Marmoros in the fabled Neverwinter valley — their ancient homeland. The fact that he does not yet command such a fighting force is immaterial. His vision is contagious and he soon even has Held agreeing to oversee the arrangements.
Meanwhile, in the faraway city of Puerto Reis, Josep and Agnes Benyahim have heard of the prince’s bold vision and are making plans to meet up with him and join the cause. With them are Zak, his wife Beth, Rachel and a mysterious young swordsman named Seb.
The parts they play, and the adventures of Jeren, Held and the others makes for great reading as they pursue their respective journeys. And, amidst all the warmongering, there is still room for a love story.
The author sets a good pace in telling this epic tale of kingdoms lost and brave warriors doing great deeds of valor and honor. Indeed, in many places, it reads like portions of The Lord of the Rings, in which military strategy against superior forces comes in mighty handy. The author clearly either has had military training or is well-read on the topic. The main character even has a coat of mithril chain mail.
But, it is the detailed descriptions of the countryside and reality of the characters that brings the book to vivid life, and you’ll soon be immersed in this faraway land, well-caught up in the quest yourself.
Five stars to this opening narrative in The Marmaros Trilogy. All fans of a good, old-fashioned, swashbuckling story should love it.
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