Author of Destiny
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Karl was alright as a person, but he did have quite an impressive list of unpleasant diseases and was not noted for his attention to personal hygiene. Drin was going to have to talk to the village authorities about this. There had to be a better selection process for the evening meal than families simply dumping their least favourite offspring into the lottery. He was as safe as you could get. Drin cast a despondent eye over the motley assortment of villagers encircling their particular fire and looked across to the other small fires scattered around the village square, each complete with their own lump of sizzling or smouldering Karl.
Things should be better than this, he thought with a sigh. Their clothes, little more than rags, clung to their skinny bodies and their eyes were filled with the blank stare of the terminally hopeless.
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Some looked a little less dreadful and in the main, these were the ones that showed evidence of having had a trade at some point in the past. However, with no agriculture, no crops, no beasts of burden or pack animals and a total ban on weapons other than daggers and short swords, there was little call these days for anyone with a skill or a craft.
And so, the farmers, bakers, carpenters, cobblers, potters and healers had all put down their tools, closed their shops and joined the multitude of hopeless souls that passed for the inhabitants of the village. Even the village blacksmith had precious little to keep him busy, the only real work coming from the Chief and his cronies, or the small Dragon Army outpost up the road.
A few of the villagers, such as Boggor, had ingratiated themselves with the Chief and the Dragon Army, running favours for them and generally grovelling and greasing as much as they could for the small rewards they were given. As such, they were among the healthiest and best dressed of the villagers and Drin reserved a special disdain for them. They would be the first against the wall when the villagers turned on the current and rotten status quo he often mused. And then, of course, there was the Chief himself and his awful family, not to mention the ever-attendant Priests of Ka, who were little more than butchers disguised as religious maniacs and the Dragon Army itself.
They were at the top of the tree that was for sure. As for Drin himself, well, he was slightly better off than most of the villagers, but certainly nowhere near as comfortable as Boggor and his crowd. And that was because, unlike the others that chose to spend their days scrabbling around in the hills for sustenance, Drin did his foraging inside the garrison, right under the nose of the Dragon Army itself. He was still always hungry, but never as much so as the other villagers and he was too sensible to gorge himself, lest they become suspicious and start asking awkward questions.
Anyway, goodnight everyone. The same was true of the huge wooden fence that had once protected the village from bandits and wild animals. Now that both had effectively died out, there was little reason to have a protective barrier to the outside world and so the fence too had come down to feed the nightly bonfires.
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All that was left of it were a few solitary logs that were too hard to pull out of the ground, looking for all the world like drunken sentries, silently guarding the threshold between the village and the wilds beyond, as they swayed and creaked in the breeze. While people seldom ever left the village, no one, apart from the soldiers of the Dragon Army ever arrived.
It was as if they were at the end of the line, cut off from reality, a last forsaken outpost in the realm. Home to a shoddy rabble of thugs, murderers and hooligans who had nowhere else to go, it was a place for the army to conveniently forget those who would never otherwise shape up. Beyond the village, the hills grew steeper, quickly becoming rocky and mountainous, offering little comfort to those who strayed too far. Some of the older folk said that the village had originally been built on fairy land, but if that was the case, thought Drin, then any magic it held had been lost long ago.
Others used to joke around the fireplace that somewhere high in the mountains lay the remote fairy stronghold where Gonald the Mighty had been healed a thousand years before, but Drin thought that wishful thinking at best. And that was why he was going to find out for himself what lay beyond the mountains at the edge of his world. He hardly expected to find the fairy stronghold, but to his mind, anything was better than having to endure life in the village, with its endless monotony, the flesh lottery and nightly tales of failed heroic deeds.
Yes, it would be the quiet life for him, Drin thought. Reaching his hovel, a small, wooden lean-to resting against the side of another, partially demolished house, he wrestled briefly with the crude latch, before ducking his head and entering. Ah, home at last, he thought with a feeling of relief.
Another night without incident. It was only when it hit the door frame with a soft thump that Drin sprang upright and turned to meet a huge, hairy fist travelling towards him at great speed. Luckless peasant Drin, is desperate to escape his horrendous existence under the rule of the cruel Dragon Queen. His journey takes him far and wide, and his unlikely partnership with a strange dwarf seems to be leading them from one disaster to another, until you realise that the unwilling heroes are unwittingly keeping each other alive.
Author, Rob Gregory, introduces elements of Pratchett and Python, in some very funny scenes, but also manages to maintain his own unique style. There is also some very nice descriptive work as you can actually visualise the landscapes, which is very important.
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Overall; off beat humour, addictive storyline, but also a strong underlying message of co-operative survival… Against all odds. Well recommended. Really fun read and I recommend it to everyone! The protagonist, Drin, flees his home village, where neighbours are chosen by lottery to provide a cannibal meal for the others, and sets off looking for that someplace that has to be better than this. The setting is a magical, mystical, medieval land, in which tyrannical soldiers of the Dragon Army impose the will of Ka, the shape-shifting Dragon Princess.
As one would expect, Drin has a succession of improbable escapes from disaster after disaster as he journeys through a landscape of strange characters and bewildering magic. Enjoyable and fairly non-stop action, as improbable as it should be, with constant witty dialogue and absurd situations, Drynwideon is vastly entertaining reading and hard to put down.
And the ending is not really all that predictable! Read full review here. I thoroughly enjoyed this rollicking good yarn! PDF chapters. Download the PDF Reader. Amazon Author Page. The Sword of Destiny — Yeah, Right. Outline Gonald the Mighty, ancient, weather-beaten, but still rather handsome barbarian, heroically scales the pitiless slopes of Mount Terror on the worst night in living memory, to finish a job that he should have completed twenty years earlier… and fails spectacularly in the process.
Buy paperback now. Sample Chapters. Chapter 1 Gonald the Mighty hurled a curse of defiance at the storm raging around him and searched for yet another handhold. Whyatt Smashwords. Read full review here This is a fun read! By Denton Denny Newman Jr. Get Special Offers Toll Free: Buy Tickets. Posted on June 11, April 19, Posted on June 6, April 19, Posted on January 27, April 19, Posted on January 14, April 19, Newer posts.
Writing to entertain, Baum chose exotic locales and melodramatic elements for these books.
The Fate of a Crown is set in Brazil, and deals with the revolution of ; Daughters of Destiny is set even farther afield, in Baluchistan. In Baum's fiction, Baluchistan is still an independent state, though the region had fallen under the sway of the British Empire in the later nineteenth century. Given his setting and subject, Baum's book had to involve the religion of Islam and an Islamic culture.
While his text does deliver some stereotypical "dog of an infidel" dialogue, Baum for the most part takes a serious and respectful approach to Islam — something that was far from universal among Americans and Westerners of his generation. Significantly, he introduces a "Grand Mufti " named Salaman in Chapter 15 of his book, and portrays him as a man of real and profound spirituality and wisdom. Baum's hero is a half-Persian, half-American Muslim who marries the Christian American heroine, with no mention of religious conversion.
The American Construction Syndicate wants to build a railroad across Baluchistan, as part of their plans for global development. The company appoints a commission, headed by Colonel Piedmont Moore, to obtain the right of way from the Baluchi ruler. Moore chooses his personal friend and physician Dr.
Warner as his second in command; and with commendable nepotism he selects his son Allison Moore as the commission's surveyor. Warner's ebullient daughter Bessie wants to come along, and solicits Moore's daughter Janet to come too; the young women will by chaperoned by Bessie's Aunt Lucy.
Moore is secretly pleased that his daughter Janet will make the trip; she has been melancholy after an unhappy love affair, with a man the Colonel regards as a thief and scoundrel. The Americans travel to Baluchistan, and promptly get themselves embroiled in a succession conflict. The reigning Khan of the country is dying, and two cousins vie for the crown.