Strangely enough, this was not a book I intended to write after I finished Darkspire Reaches, which was supposed to be a stand alone novel. However, there was a certain expectation from my publishers that there would be a sequel and I will admit to prevarication until I saw the comments in the reviews for Darkspire Reaches. While I will never respond, I always take notice and I saw people were asking questions about the world, in particular the Shangrove and also wondering about a sequel, so I go to thinking about what would happen next. This book was so much fun to write and now I guess I am thinking about a third in the series. Maybe I’ll call that one Wurms of the World. We will see.
What a wonderful surprise to wake up to this review this morning! Does happy dance.
Serpent of the Shangrove
5 out of 5 stars What a wonderful world! January 5, 2017
What a wonderful world(s) Ms. Hull has created! I love anything to do with dragons, so I was instantly swept up in the adventure from the gate. I loved Kryling! Such an adorable companion. It was an excellent treatment of the lengths jealousy and hatred can send people. And who hasn’t had a childhood love turned sour? In this case, the two combine to send the hero out into a fast-paced quest for justification. The imagination in creating the worlds is impressive and the layers are complex. I recommend this book for anyone who likes well-constructed high fantasy defined by strong characters.
Woo Hoo! Does happy dance.
Eve reviewed Darkspire Reaches
Not your Typical Fantasy Novel January 3, 2017
I am a large fantasy reader, and that mostly is recent. But this goes beyond the standard dragon fantasy outline and is really about a young woman’s journey of self-discovery, and rising above the hardships of the hand dealt to her in life. I loved this book. The character development is what jumped out at me the most; I almost always love a book where I can connect to the characters, and this book did not disappoint on that front. This was a grab you from word one to the finish. I can’t wait to get a chance to read more from this gifted author. The plot was very well paced, my mind tends to stray from what I am doing if my attention is not grabbed and kept, and this book managed to keep me reading from page one to the very last page. Again the growth of the main character Raven is amazing and what really gives this novel the five-star rating I have rated it. To end this review, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more from this author.
Free now for five days only. ‘An atmospheric and haunting read.’
Ella tried not to stare at the strange man sharing her boat and her life. She didn’t know what to make of him. Mordred had the wide shoulders and slim hips of a born athlete, but the muscles were too well defined. There was not an inch of fat on him anywhere giving him a half-starved appearance, especially around his abdomen, inner thighs and face. Aside from a tanned face and hands, the rest of him was fish white. Most surprising was Mordred’s extreme modesty. His face rivaled the color of John’s scarlet Speedos and he kept his hands cupped over the vicinity of his manhood as if he were naked when he had eventually emerged from the cabin in his swimwear.
As Mordred recited the mantra of ‘you, your, she, her, me and mine’ she could picture him standing on a windswept moor wearing the clothing of an ancient warrior and brandishing a broadsword. He had an innocence about him and yet she knew he was attracted to her, for all he tried his best to conceal it with sudden turns onto his belly when his body reacted. John would have certainly made a move on her by now, were he Mordred, but this man treated her with incredible respect like he really was a knight of the Round Table. In another life, was Mordred a Knight Protector?
Living in England, Ella had enjoyed studying the ancient history of the place. Like any other foreigner, she visited Stonehenge, Tintagel, and Glastonbury along with other sites of importance. Arthur was the good king, and Mordred was the evil bastard son. This was the historical myth, but Mordred, her Mordred, claimed to be the son of Merlin.
“I think you have tanned enough for today. Go below and get dressed.”
He got up awkwardly with his back kept towards her to make a peculiar exit to the cabin. Ella decided not to break out her own swimwear at that point. Gallant, though he was, Mordred might consider revealing clothing as a deliberate provocation. The Knight Protector was a much better persona than the potential ravisher.
When he emerged looking much happier, Ella handed him the wheel, but before she went below to fix lunch, she wanted some answers. “Mordred, I thought Arthur was a good king. If he was not your father, why were you fighting him? Legend tells that he tried to have you killed as a child to keep the relationship a secret.”
Yes, just how immersed in his ancient persona was this man? Was he for real, or a delusional lunatic? She kept coming back to the candles every time she started to doubt him.
He flashed a grin at her. “Who can say who is good and who is evil? I could be called evil, but then Arthur was far from good.” He squared his shoulders as he turned back to face the wind like he shifted a huge weight on them. “Is there anything to eat?”
She had sunshine hair, eyes of sky and a broken heart. Mordred made an effort to learn from her since this was what she wanted of him. He owed her that and more for getting him away from the madness, yet he wished he could help her.
In this moonstruck world, full of wrong magic, he couldn’t even help himself. The last thing he remembered was a duel with Arthur. One final sword strike, within his grasp, and it would have all been over, but then the witch, Morgan appeared. Magic swirled and flashed around him until he woke up surrounded by people with strange ways of speaking. The horseless chariots panicked him. They didn’t believe him, and then the endless nightmare started. Ella was his rock, his anchor in this madness, and he would never let her go, not until he found a way back to where he was. Maybe not even then.
“Yes, Mistress Ella. I was listening to your words.”
She buried her head in her hands, and all the sunshine hair flowed forward in an enchanting cascade. The delightful smell of flowers wafted from her, the same as his own smell now that she had made him learn how to use what she called the bathroom, a vast difference from the forced drenchings in the place of madness. But Ella promised him a more manly smell when they landed. She said there were such things, and he believed her.
Seagulls flew overhead, screaming their need at the two idle people seated not doing the expected from a fishing vessel. Mordred lounged on the deck, soaking up the sun in what he considered indecent attire. Ella insisted he needed a tan to blend in with other folks. She found him the strange garment that was more than a loin cloth and yet less than one. However, he did enjoy her anointing him with what she said would stop him burning. He hadn’t, and he really liked the anointing part.
“Mordred, you are not paying attention at all. If you had been, you would have answered me. I also told you to drop the Mistress thing. It has an entirely different meaning than the one you meant.” Fine blonde eyebrows drew together in a frown over her summer eyes.
“I am sorry … Ella. I was lost in the past.”
He couldn’t. In her world, Ella was a strong woman in charge of her own destiny. She stretched to her limits in accepting his strangeness. Mordred didn’t want to scare her. “I need to be in a place where the wild things are to replenish my magic.”
“You haven’t told me everything.”
“No more than you did tell to me.”
She sighed. “Told me, not did tell.”
He rolled over to toast his back, hoping the cooking process would be over soon. He would have preferred to be fishing while he had his lessons. At least he could be providing for them. He also wondered why Ella did not elect to roast herself in some indecent garment. That would have made things a lot more interesting, although he had to admit her boy clothing was very revealing, even though she was fully covered. Strange world.
What had she done? Water slapped gently on the sides of Fairy Child. Morning sunshine filtered in through the skylight. This boat was all she had to show for the past four years. They couldn’t go back, not when she had aided and abetted Mordred’s escape. The boat money would be eaten by legal fees, and she knew there would be jail time. John would make sure of that. God, why had she ever hooked up with such a bastard? Why hadn’t she seen through him before now? Because you didn’t want to see the truth, a hard little voice whispered.
“Thee be too quiet.” Mordred slid off the seat to kneel in front of her. “I did come to your home, where a good meal was about to spoil for the want of eating. Thy raiments and other possessions were already packed. Thee willingly gave me the raiment of thy man and worked thy magic to give I the semblance of him. This was not asked of thee.” He reached over to wipe a fresh tear from her cheek. “Say why this man doth not deserve chastisement.”
“Because we are both free, and he isn’t worth the effort.” Four years of her life gone. Four years of love, total commitment and trust thrown away when the illusion shattered. A burning pit now resided in the place of her heart. No man would ever get close to her again. “I need to move forward. The devil catches the hindermost.”
Mordred flashed a wicked smile. “Aye, and he can be right in thy path.”
Yes, he could at that. Mordred wasn’t safe. Ella knew this. She had to ditch him as soon as she could, but she had to do so in a way that wasn’t going to get her caught. If she dropped him off in the Scilly Isles, he would be picked up immediately with all his strange thees and thous. Mad man, he might well be, but in John’s pay, no.
“Mordred, you need to learn to speak properly, or you will be caught the moment you open your mouth. Before we make land, you need to learn modern syntax.”
“What be that?”
“No, what is that?” The ocean was calm, and now there they had no pressing need to be elsewhere. What was pressing was her need not to think. Changing his speech was a way forward for both of them.