by Tegon Maus
GENRE: Fantasy Action / Adventure
Tucker Littlefield is a liar, a thief, a con-man. In an attempt to take advantage of a party thrown by the King, he becomes involved in the kidnapping of the King’s niece, Elizabeth. Injured, he is saved by a shaman who turns Tucker into a Soul Bearer who is enslaved by its power, compelled to devour the souls of the dead. "I am Tucker Littlefield. Know all that I say now is true-spoken.”
In his right hand, he held a bent stick. He waved it at the dog and grunted at it to frighten it away. Lifting his head high, he sniffed at the air and turned slowly.
"Norha. Where there is one, there is three," Bowen whispered.
We sat motionless for what seemed like forever, watching the creature with the stick. The dog made a wide circle around him, no bark, and no sound. The man refused to make eye contact with it, pretending it wasn't there.
He kicked at the dirt, searching for what? At last, he bent to pick something up. He held it in a clenched fist over his head and howled. From about his waist he took an object, tied to a piece of sinew. As he spun it, a deep, low throng, something akin to a roar arose, filling the air.
"Roar of the Bear," Bowen whispered, nodding toward the man and his signal.
We sank lower into our hiding. Just as he had predicted two more of the Norha appeared from the trees. They sniffed at the air just as the first had done and turned suspiciously. Satisfied, they inspected his find. He held out his hand to them as they spoke in low grunting tones to one another. I didn't understand their language but apparently Bowen could. His body stiffened.
I tried to divide my attention between the three and the look now spread over his face. He pressed his hand to my shoulder, pushing me lower, indicating I should stay hidden.
"Each is blaming the other, they're looking, they're looking for Elizabeth," he whispered, getting up.
Something was moving toward me through the underbrush. I held my breath and pushed as low as I could. It was Enon's dog, Noget.
He snuffled his way to me and leaned against me, protecting me with his body just as Bowen had before disappearing into the trees.
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I was raised pretty much the same as everyone else... devoted mother, strict father and all the imaginary friends I could conjure. Not that I wasn't friendly, I just wasn't "people orientated". Maybe I lived in my head way more than I should have, maybe not. I liked machines more than people, at least I did until I met my wife.
The first thing I can remember writing was for her. For the life of me I can't remember what it was about... something about dust bunnies under the bed and monsters in my closet. It must have been pretty good because she married me shortly after that. I spent a good number of years chasing other dreams before I got back to writing.
It wasn't a deliberate conscious thought it was more of a stepping stone. My wife and I had joined a dream interpret group and we were encouraged to write down our dreams as they occurred. "Be as detailed as you can," we were told.
I was thrilled. If there is one thing I enjoy it's making people believe me and I like to exaggerate. Not a big exaggeration or an outright lie mine you, just a little step out of sync, just enough so you couldn't be sure if it were true or not. When I write, I always write with the effort of "it could happen" very much in mind and nothing, I guarantee you, nothing, makes me happier.
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3.5 out of 5 stars
The Gift by Tegon Maus is the first story in the ‘Chronicles of Tucker Littlefield’ series. Tucker is swept into a series of very challenging experiences that are set into motion by the kidnapping of the king’s niece. A combination of mystic experiences and the challenge of overcoming a plethora of foes with arcane powers and evil intentions force Tucker to reluctantly accept the burdens placed upon him while he struggles to not only rescue the king’s niece but stay alive long enough to do so.
This fantasy tale is filled with action and adventure with plenty of imaginative creatures and exciting and oftentimes gory battles. Things were a bit hard to follow and the sequence of events is somewhat chaotic, in my opinion, and at first I thought that I had started with a sequel instead of the beginning of the series. There are fun elements, including the way the narrative starts and the way it ends, and memorable characters such as the very perceptive dog, with magic and mysticism sprinkled in, but I wonder whether a glossary that listed key characters and cultures would make it easier to understand the reasons behind some of the conflicts and quests. I had trouble establishing a rapport with any of the characters and I think this is because the action is so frenetic, I never got an idea of who the characters really were. Hopefully, subsequent stories will begin to untangle some of the ongoing threads while continuing to showcase the fertile imagination of this author.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review