The Bard’s Blade
By Brian Anderson
(430 pages, fantasy, 2020)
Vylari has been sealed off from the rest of the world, allowing its people to live in peace for generations. Tales of the time before are more myth than history at this point. But a stranger is found just within the borders, comatose but bearing a note foretelling a rising darkness, drawn to one within the wards of Vylari. Lem, a gifted bard, is confronted with a secret unearthed with the missive, a secret buried with his mother years before. To find the answers he seeks, he must cross the boundary and leave Vylari, knowing he can never return. Mariyah, winemaker and Lem’s betrothed, follows after him, believing her destiny entwined with his. But the world beyond the veil is not as simple, yielding only sorrow and misfortune instead of love and reunion. Each makes the best of their situation in the cruel realities of the outside world, but neither may be who — or what — they previously thought. What will they sacrifice to save those they love, and will it be enough? Fast-paced with well-developed characters, this book channels the music and magic of epic fantasy with rich world-building, moral quandaries, a menacing evil, love just out of reach, and the makings of a chosen one, prophesied and potential. It did take me a bit to get into this novel, but soon enough I couldn’t put it down! A captivating read, certainly!
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