A deadly game from the shadows … will bring an empire to its knees.
An ages-old battle explodes across the Five Kingdoms. Powerful beings long thought to be mythical make their presence felt in devastating ways. A whisper, and a king goes mad. A subtle nudge, and an empire topples. A hidden war rages, threatening to rip the realm apart like rotted cloth.
But no one knows they’re in the game until it’s too late.
This epic saga has all the trademark action and daring adventure you expect: shapeshifters, brutal warlords, duplicitous mercenaries, deadly assassins, and hunters of the immortal.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a honest review. The Eye of Everfell I can only describe as one of those long lost treasures you find buried in a place long forgotten aka. my backlog of kindle ebooks. Many readers, including myself, are always looking towards the future for the next great story that will bring something new to genre. However, in my opinion the real triumph for this genre is to look back at what came before to discover a series that has essentially been lost. The Eye of Everfell blends some familiar elements of classical fantasy with a modern spin and the story that just keeps growing the deeper you go. Bard Constantine’s prose are direct but beautifully flowing at the same time and I was mesmerized. In a time where self-published authors are flourishing, this books is in my top tier.
I won’t go into too many details due to spoilers, but the premise revolves around immortal beings known as the Aelon. These beings lived on the world of Erseta until they were forced to leave. A small group of the Aelon known as the Co’nane choose to stay behind and in the process lost their immortality. In times of desperation, they turned to the shadowy figure Levilavin, who granted the Co’nane power but also put a terrible curse on them. Alaric is the leader of the Co’nane and has vowed revenge against Levilavin and his search brings him to the realm of Everfell in search of a magical artifact to end his people suffering.
Nyori is a newly appointed Shama of the Norther Steppes and we begin her story with her final trial. Shamas are a class of seers and healers that use their foresight to affect certain events yet to occur. During her trial, Nyori is tasked to look into the Eye of Everfell as her inner mind separates from her body. Instead, she is transported to the realm of Everfell where she discovers the magical Geod Eymunder. The same item that Alaric is looking for and the story explodes from this point forward. Marcellus is a noble knight and somewhat of a living legend except all he wants is to live in infamy with his wife and daughter. Marcellus is tasked by the king to travel into the far eastern lands of Bruallia to recover his bastard child as he no longer has an heir to the throne. On his way to the far east, Marcellus is betrayed and his story goes down a very dark path and I will leave it at that.
What Bard has created in book 1 of the Shadow Battles is not anything necessarily new, but he creates it in new and amazing ways. The story starts out very small and mysterious with the tension and lore growing to epic proportions. This story also shows a little bit of influence from the Wheel of Time with the magical weapons, powerful women with magic, a hidden city of ancient history, deadly creatures, and a plot that is ever changing.
The pages flew by as my appetite for more was insatiable and the pacing kept feeding me the good stuff into the wee hours of the morning. There isn’t a cliffhanger at the end but a shocking moment is very much present and just as crushing. What is in store for me in book 2 I can only guess, but the story continues and my mind needs another dose of Bard Constantine’s medication.