Hello, hello! How is this baking hot heatwave treating you? I’m just about managing not to melt into a puddle, but it’s touch and go.
I just finished reading the first book in a new epic fantasy series by R. S. Williams and wanted to tell you all about it, mainly because it’s brill, but also because book two is coming in September and preorders are already open and just 99c! So you won’t have long to wait to binge both books. Plus there’s a prequel novella you can grab for free when you sign up to the author’s email list, I’ll tell you a little about that later…
Title: Kingdom of Lies
Author: R. S. Williams
Rating: 5 stars (it has 4.5 stars on Goodreads and 4.1 on Amazon overall)
Audio book: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Kingdom-of-Lies-Audiobook/B0B5LWX5Q8
Magic is back in Adelith, and with it the return of Cyran.
Elijah spends his days preparing for the annual Hollom horse race and working at his guardian Merrick’s forge. That is, until Merrick is summoned back to Castle Aebarrow in Adelith by the king.
Unable to stay in Rheanydd without a legal guardian, Eli is forced to go with Merrick who takes up the position of captain and trains the new guards. But the more time Eli spends in Adelith, the more his lost memories resurface-and they throw up worrying questions about his past.
As a member of Princess Sienna’s Elite Guard, Eli saves her life when it’s threatened by the presence of a mysterious Missing Prince. Eli’s heroics incur the wrath of a mad sorcerer known only as The Master, hell-bent on ending the courting prince’s life.
Elijah enters a dangerous path of self-discovery where magic and secrets intertwine. The truth about his past is within reach, but can he unlock his memories and solve the riddles in time to save the true heir to the throne? Or will the castle be brought crumbling down once more?
Kingdom of Lies feels like a good old, classic epic fantasy, along the lines of The Lord of the Rings and Eragon. It follows Elijah, who has been raised by his guardian, Merrick, and is both a talented rider and skilled swordsman, thanks to Merrick’s tutelage.
When Merrick, who is an old friend of the king’s and a legendary soldier, is summoned back to the castle, Eli is forced to join him. But as soon as they arrive he begins to be struck by painful headaches and flashes of strange memories and visions of the past.
With an old threat rising once more, a rumoured missing prince and rightful heir to the throne, and spies infiltrating the castle and poisoning the princess, Eli joins the Elite Guard and finds himself embroiled in a dangerous mission to discover the truth about the unsettling memories he’s plagued with.
This book is a serious slow burn in every sense of the word. The romance between Elijah and the love interest (no spoilers here!) is hinted at and there are some sweet and swoon worthy scenes peppered throughout, but it isn’t the main focus of the story so fans of low romance fantasy will be happy. The plot also builds slowly, but the pace does keep the pages turning, and the world Rhianne (that’s R. S. Williams to me and you) has created is uncovered piece by piece, revealing magic, betrayal, fascinating herbology (I may have pinched this term from Harry Potter, but you get my meaning), and even dragons.
We don’t get to see any actual dragons in book one (see what I mean about a slow burn?), but as book two, coming in September, is titled Return of the Dragons, I’m guessing they’ll feature heavily in that one!
My favourite thing about this book was the characters, and especially a few of the secondary characters. There is a strong theme of friendship and loyalty (not surprising for a book with ‘lies’ in the title), and I loved the bromance between Elijah and Sahab. I also adored Eli’s friendship with Maevine, one of the princess’s ladies maids. At first I wondered if they might become more than friends, but it never developed into a romance, and pretty quickly it became obvious Eli was meant for someone else, but their bond stayed just as strong and unbreakable. Another character I adored was Naoko, one of the nurses in the castle infirmary. She’s a strong, self-assured and knowledgeable woman who doesn’t take anyone’s crap, and I totally respect that.
The magic system is subtle and I’m looking forward to learning more in the next two books, as well as the prequel novella, Tournament of the Elite.
Speaking of Tournament of the Elite, did you know that if you subscribe to Rhianne’s email list, you can read this novella completely free? Click here to check it out and sign up:
The novella will give you a good insight into the world and history of the story (it’s set years earlier and follows the young king) and let you decide if you think this series is for you. But, I would say, if you like classic sword and sorcery, epic journeys and battles against mysterious foes, a light sprinkling of romance that doesn’t overshadow the main plot, and, of course, dragons, then The Kane Saga is right up your alley!
Now, I’m off to read Tournament of the Elite, and then dive into my ARC of book two!
Happy reading friends,