Slaughtered and left for crows, soldiers of the King’s Army lay dead in a field. A grim reminder: the king’s law ends at the gates of the capital.
Elinor fought for what she believed and now she is an outcast. No soldier will follow her. No officer will stand with her. Yet when she finds her brothers and sisters slaughtered, she cannot turn her back on them.
Long ago, they swore an oath. Not to the king, but to each other.
And woe to those who break that bond.
“Aldis Janen is a spoiled wastrel who has always been able to get by on his charm and his family,” Con said. “He has never achieved a genuine thing in his life. You’ve always given him a pass on his character defects because he was kind to you in the Academy, Elinor.”
“Absolutely. When so few others were. I do not forget such things.”
He sighed. “I’m just saying that your feelings for him tend to cloud your judgment.”
She moved off her rocky perch. “You two never got along.”
“No, we most certainly did not.”
“Well, then the good news for you is when we see him later today, you will have another chance to mend things, now won’t you?” she asked with a smile as she headed back toward the camp.
Elinor took stock of the large wagons being pulled by the mule teams. “With some luck, we can reach Height’s Ward Keep, or what’s left of it, by nightfall.” She pointed to a cliff, a short distance from their position. “We should have a good glimpse of the road from there. Think you’re up for a little climb, Journeyman Engineer?”
Con sighed, but followed her up the cliff.
Before long, he was catching his breath. “I don’t—I don’t know how you do that so fast,” he wheezed.
Elinor said nothing. Her eyes focused in the direction of Height’s Ward Keep. In the distance, a cloud of dark shapes stained the sky.
“Rouse the camp. I want us covering ground in under an hour,”
Elinor said, moving. “At the hop and weapons to hand. Prepared for trouble.”
Con was already scrambling back down, shouting orders to get the company moving.
This was a bit different from previous Echoes of the Ascended books as this is the first to continue a particular storyline. What began in A Reaper of Stone continues in Broken Banners. Due to the brief length of the book I greatly appreciated not being told every 2 pages what happened in the previous installment, though I do want to make sure others know these books are best read in chronological order as they are released to make the most out of the experience. Even though this morsel was devoured so quickly I hardly blinked, I enjoyed it immensely. Gelineau and King work such magic with their words, sometimes I wonder if they are actually mages tricking us all into thinking they write fiction. If you enjoy epic fantasy in small installments, or would like to give it a try, start with the Echoes of the Ascended. You can fill a weekend or an afternoon depending on your reading speed, but no matter how you take it in, you will want more.
Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories together for the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.
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