Of all the characters in THE BOOK OF DEACON, the malthrope Leo/Lain captivated me most, so when I saw THE RISE OF THE RED SHADOW on Amazon, I had to check it out. This book is now on my list of All-Time Favorites.
A terrified toddler cowering near the body of his brutally murdered mother, the young malthrope was captured by slave hunters and thrust into the deplorable existence of a plantation slave, where taskmasters and fellow slaves alike compounded his abuse because of what he was. Alone and despised, he quickly bonded to the one person who did not mistreat him–an old, blind slave named Ben. This bond, along with his natural curiosity, prompted the young malthrope to shadow the old man and try to emulate his actions. Quick to learn and through Ben’s patient guidance, he learned how to speak well and developed an aptitude for making tools and nurturing crops. Yet when events expelled him from the plantation, the skills that should have aided him in the world of men meant nothing. He remained, in the eyes of non-malthropes, a monster–feared, hated, and marked for death. But he never abandoned the values Ben had taught him. He became a warrior–indeed, a champion, possessing exemplary qualities lacking in most of the humans surrounding him; namely, a code of honor and a purpose in life.
This spellbinding fantasy kept me turning the pages. Joseph Lallo’s polished writing style lends a medieval vibe to the story and vividly depicts both the setting and the characters without bogging the action in a lot of cumbersome detail. A definite must-read for fantasy lovers!
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