Keepers of RunesKeepers of Runes and the Tower of Shadows by Andrew D. Cratsley

CreateSpace Independent Publishing ~ May 2014 ~ 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Haunted by his sordid past, Corinth emerges from his solitude within the eternal forest around Enzlintine. Eager to serve, he is sent away under the ruse of a mercenary to quell the troubled region plagued by Khalid, the Lord of Conquest. Unsure of his companions, he discovers a world unlike the one imparted by his vain race. The trail of deadly contracts leads them to a mysterious tower inhabited by an unforeseen evil. It forces them into greater dangers to retrieve an unknown object, under the escort a young girl it claims as his ward. Offering her assistance to flee in exchange for her safety, her charm and peculiar lineage forces the noble soldier of fortune to question his precious ideals while seeking refuge. They race towards a frigid wasteland to find the bane of the evil that stalks them, while battling assassins, ominous creatures, and the forces of Khalid.

Review: Appointed to the Sage Guards, newly knighted Enzlintine elf, Corinth sets off on a quest to discover why people and other creatures disappear on a major trade route. Along the way, he’ll deal with a group of hired swords – mercenaries and his own prejudices. Corinth finds himself battling his cultural indoctrination more than his adversaries. Elves come first and everyone else is not just second class, but actually lower than that, even or perhaps especially his allies.

This book had tremendous potential that unfortunately wasn’t totally realized. The well described setting provided a wonderful backdrop for the ensemble cast of mercenaries. However, they weren’t as well developed and at times it became difficult to connect with them or Corinth. Another problem was the constant use of unnecessary dialogue tags and when the conversation wasn’t linked, it meant regular re-reading to discover who said what and when which slowed the overall pacing.

However, despite the many flaws, this remained an interesting read especially when Corinth discovers the tower and Rieka joins his team to defeat the evil all of them face. Since this story is part of a series, it will be enjoyable to see what happens next.

This review was provided by Shannon Kennedy for her column Shannon’s Space in the June 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.

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