Tomb of the Six & Blade of Glass (Splintered Land #0.5, #1) – Richard Parry

*I received free copies of this novella and book, with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: Knight Adept Geneve hunts evil with a skymetal sword.

Getun town might be safe harbor for thieves, but even they don’t deserve their doom. Someone’s dug up old hate with a new shovel. Sorcerers seven hundred years dead return. Their prize: the land of the living.

Geneve must destroy these powerful mages. If she doesn’t, a tyranny the world has forgotten will be unleashed. All she has is her training, blade, and a love-addled fairy as a guide.

It’d take a miracle to save Getun, let alone the kingdom. Pick up this explosive dark fantasy debut today!

This short novella, or long story, is a great introduction to Richard Parry’s new dark fantasy trilogy, The Splintered Land series.

Here we meet the series main character, Geneve, and her older, more experienced, and certainly more qualified companions, Israel and Vertriline, as the three Knights of Tresward hunt for a sinner, as their duty to the Three requires.

In the world of the Splintered Land series, a sinner is anyone who is able to wield magic, and the Tresward knights have been perfectly trained to capture them and deliver them back to be judged and executed. Geneve, as a Knight Adept is still learning her trade, but that doesn’t stop her running headlong and solo into danger at the first hint of necromancy!

Adding to Geneve’s lack of experience are the small matters of her lack of the Tresward glass sword and the lack of her ability to call on the Tresward Storm powers. Still, she has her wits, her finely honed senses, and her superb fighting skills… and a lovesick fairy to guide her. What could go wrong?

I’ve read a few of Richard’s space/nanotech sci-fi novels previously, so I already knew he has a knack for writing a real kickass female lead, but Geneve might just be my favourite of all. She has flaws, doubts and compassion, but has worked hard to achieve her current level of skill and is determined to succeed but not at the expense of what she believes to be right.

There is also some excellent banter and camaraderie-building between her and the other characters, which adds a refreshing touch of humour and warmth to all the fast-paced fighting action.

With a good balance of revealing context, but not too much… just enough to lure you into the series proper, I was compelled to dive straight in to book one. You’ll find my (rave) review of that, below!

The innkeeper laced his fingers together, perhaps to stop his hands shaking. “He had men of a sort with him.”
“Of a sort?” Israel became still. “What kind of sort?”
Dewi let out a low keen that might have been a sob. “Men from the Tomb of the Six, he said.”
Israel glanced at Geneve and Vertiline. “Tomb of the Six? What kind of men come from there?”
Old Dewi looked away. “The dead kind.”

– Richard Parry, Tomb of the Six

Pick up a FREE copy of Tomb of the Six on Amazon here.

Blurb: Sorcerers are a blight. Knight Adept Geneve must end them.

A wizard rumored to hold the Tome of Lost Souls is on the run. This powerful grimoire can destroy Geneve’s order in an instant. She must capture him–and the Tome.

Geneve finds truth on her path. Monsters brutalize the world, and her leaders are complicit. She runs from them into the blasted plaguelands. Geneve damns herself through her choice of companions: a Feybrind who keeps his own counsel, a renegade illusionist, and one of the vile Vhemin.

Her quest to uncover the Tome’s secret remains. If she succeeds, she will let down those she serves. If she fails, not even the gods can stop the end of all things. Her armor has never felt so heavy.

Read this gripping dark fantasy adventure today!

If you enjoy reading fantasy adventure with magic, monsters and a strong female main character, then this series is definitely for you.

Geneve, Israel and Vertriline return in search of another sinner, only to find that nothing is what they thought and that the enemies may not be exactly who (or what) they thought either.

Richard Parry’s worldbuilding and plot are superb here, but what really stood out for me above everything else was his knack with characters. The dialogue exchanges are natural and witty, and you get a real sense for each individual character, their growth and the depth of the connections they forge as the story progresses. Even the horses have their own personalities and moments to shine – although not so much that they steal the show or disrupt the main plot.

In addition to the classic fantasy tropes of good vs. evil and racing to find ‘the thing’, Parry has mixed in some interesting moral dynamics about corruption and perfection, dark and light, and who decides who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

I love the races of ‘others’ introduced here – the mysterious Feybrind and the monstrous Vhemin – and am desperate to know more about the whole world we see here. I’m thrilled that books two and three of the trilogy are already out now, but I think I need a prequel trilogy… and a Feybrind-based trilogy… and… you get the idea!

Honestly, having just put this book down, I can’t rave about it more. I was spellbound and kept reading it long past I should have done, when other duties were calling me away. This is top-class fantasy writing, and I am looking forward immensely to bringing you reviews of The Storm Within and Requiem’s Justice over the next couple of months. But don’t wait for me… go ahead and pick this series up now – you won’t regret it!

Geneve tightened her grip. “I think—”
Whatever she thought was lost to the roar of a beast. She spun, dropping her hand from the man’s arm. In the alley behind her a black shadow hulked. Her mind tried to find a name for it, but came up empty. A bear? Whatever it was reared, pawing the air with malformed claws. She goggled for a moment, then drew her scattergun in a smooth motion. She’d named it Tribunal, and it spoke the Three’s law.
She pulled the trigger, the hard boom silencing the birdsong. The shot blasted through the might-be-a-bear, the… nothing. The thing continued to paw the air, and not very well—it wasn’t much of anything, let alone a real bear. Also, blood and viscera didn’t blast out the back as expected.
I’m here to catch a sinner. I’m an idiot.

– Richard Parry, Blade of Glass

Check out Richard Parry’s website, or follow him on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Blade of Glass  is available on Amazon right now, and you can check out my reviews of other stories by the author herehere and here. Or pop here to find Richard’s thoughts on writing continuity.

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