Sunday, December 21, 2014

Keepers of the Dawn by Herb J. Smith II (The Dawn Cycle, #1)

Keepers of the Dawn
by Herb J. Smith II

My rating: 4 stars

Series: The Dawn Cycle - Book 1
Publication Date: September 18, 2014
Publisher: Bright Realms Publishing
Genre: New Adult Epic Fantasy
Print Length: 668 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble


For two thousand years the Teeth have stood, three immense barriers of divine light rising high into the heavens, encircling the world, dividing it from Paradise. Like others of the Penitent world, Dreen and his telepathically impaired son, Bartu, cling to a dream. A dream that one day a savior will arrive to fell the imprisoning Teeth. Unlike others, however, their dream rests on more than mere faith. It rests on the promise of an artifact that came to their family centuries ago. A holy relic that is key to a future savior’s success.

To keep the relic safe, Dreen and Bartu must keep it secret. A task not easily accomplished in this world of telepaths. Making the task even more difficult is an obscure prophecy that foretells of the sacred artifact. A prophecy that Rue-A-Kai, the Destroyer, knows well. With the strength of a hundred wizards, the reincarnated savior of the Vile hordes imperils not only the Penitent kingdoms he now threatens to overrun, but also the promised arrival of a true future savior. Were the demonic Rue-A-Kai to acquire the holy relic, his perverse interpretation of prophecy would transform the relic from a device of deliverance to one of damnation, ensuring that the Teeth never fell, that the world never saw Paradise.

Yet the relic remains safely hidden, as it has for centuries. And there is no reason to believe it will not continue to remain so for centuries to come. No reason at all, that is, until the accident. . . .

Keepers of the DawnMy Review
Keepers of the Dawn by Herb J. Smith II

In a two thousand year battle between good and evil, the Penitent world holds fast to their faith in a paradise beyond “The Teeth” that separate their world from eternal salvation. A prophecy tells of an evil and demonic Destroyer, the reincarnated savior of the Vile Hordes who will come armed with dark magic to decimate the Penitent believers. The prophecy also says a savior will rise to defeat evil and tear down the Teeth, opening Paradise to true Penitents. The key to the outcome of the final battle will be in an ancient relic hidden by one family for generations.
Dreen has secretly kept the relic hidden in a world where telepathic powers are the norm. His son, Bartu, will carry this trust when his father no longer lives, but Bartu is a telepathic deaf-mute. He cannot hear, nor be heard by others, leaving him vulnerable to attack and ridicule. He looks different, he is feared and considered some type of bad omen, but will his weakness become his strength when the world is on the brink of damnation?

Will the fate of the world rest on the young shoulders of a man scorned for not fitting in? Does a true hero’s heart beat in Bartu’s chest? Follow his often pain-filled journey as he attempts to keep the world safe from evil. When the biggest deceivers are thought to be his greatest allies and the world begins to fall into the hands of evil, who will Bartu trust? Who will help him? Is he the savior everyone has been waiting for, or is he only the keeper of the relic?

Herb J. Smith has penned the first part of what is sure to become an epic fantasy with Keepers of the Dawn. A journey to be embarked upon with the knowledge there is much to learn, a new world to explore and a huge cast of relevant characters and scenes, this is not a read to expect to breeze through. Mr. Smith takes his time with great detail in developing the atmosphere, the feel of having left the world we know for his and for bringing his characters to life. There are no wasted words as this world comes to life and each scene plays out, from battles to tragic loss, to travels to faraway places with different races, powers and emotional expressions. Bartu will be a stranger, one not to be trusted and alone, attempting to prepare the world for what is to come. Can he rally those he touches to heed the call to arms? Will the savior be found in time for battle or will divine assistance come too late for the Penitents?

Do you like leaving this world for the fantasy of magic, wizards, betrayals and war? Can you let go of what you believe and embrace another way of life, in another world? If so, let your imagination take you into the world that Herb. J. Smith has created and stand shoulder to shoulder with a young man who was taught to do the right thing, no matter what.
I was lost in this tale, and I became a believer that I was there, the prophecy could be a nightmare or a joy and the future was precariously balanced on the shoulders of one young man who never quite fit in. When an author can transport you out of your reality and into his, he has done a remarkable job.

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