Nexus Moons (Tales of Graal Book 1) by Ron Root
English | 2020 | Sci – Fi | ePUB | 3.5 MB
From berserkers to magi, from monsters to alternate existences, Nexus Moons has something for everyone who enjoys a good fantasy read. Its gripping third-person narrative will keep the reader engaged and invested, and the growth and development of characters will not leave them wanting. Action, mystery, looming threat, and danger drive the plot forward as kinship is forged and rekindled in unexpected ways.
The story is chock full of rich characters. Protagonist Magus Jarek Verity is a sorcerer of the Royal Court off in search of a newly discovered nephew. Gresham Smithy, that nephew, is a soldier in training possessing a rare magical gift he’s not even aware of. The aristocratic Rayna Kent, his romantic interest, is estranged from her High Lord father for reasons she cannot fathom. Hagley is a bumbling but versatile magus-in-training who befriends the two of them, as does Sully, his young sidekick and local waif. Villains abound too, as do the uncounted creatures that constantly threaten the adventurer’s survival.
The group’s prime objective is to rescue Headmaster Lavan, Jarek’s longtime friend, from the powerful fiend Zakarah, who’s spirited the poor scholar off to who knows where. Their dangerous quest takes them into the wilds of Graal in search of a lost city of legend. Their adventure pushes each trouper beyond the limits any of them could ever imagine themselves enduring.
Although saving Lavan is their quest, the story is about the coming of age of this assorted group of misfits as each struggles to find his or her place in a world that has thus far paid them little or no heed.
The helmsman guided the ship past the final buoy and into port. “Boom two points abaft the beam, starboard side!” came a cry from the crow’s nest. The sails dropped and the ship slammed against the pylons. The loud grating of wood on wood spawned a flurry of dockside activity. Mooring lines were tossed to waiting dockers who looped them around bollards and the vessel was secured.
Jarek stood watching from atop the ship’s deck, his magus robes flapping in the breeze. His plan had been to change into something more practical before debarking, but by the time he boarded, his belongings had already been stowed. The Captain had ordered the crew to treat them with extra care—to place them where rough seas wouldn’t damage them. That ‘extra care’ had them buried them so deep in the hold that the ship’s cargo would have to be offloaded before the crew could reach them.
He took in the scene before him. Like all seaports, Portsmouth reeked of offal. He pinched closed his nose in a vain effort to thwart its stench. Why his sister had chosen this island to birth a child was beyond him. Perhaps she picked it because of its remoteness. It made sense, given that Damián was mundane. Ever was it frowned upon for a magus to marry an ungifted for fear it would diminish chances of their offspring inheriting the Gift.
If isolation was Bronwyn’s plan, it worked. It had taken Jarek nearly two decades to discover her whereabouts, long after her abduction by Chevaliers, the One Church’s men-at-arms. Whereas the magi believed any person so gifted was free to practice the arts as he or she saw fit, it was not so with the One Church. They claimed exclusive domain over any aspect of the arts dealing with a man’s soul. For anyone but one of their Clerics to practice such arts was deemed heretical, and it was the Chevaliers’ sworn duty to enforce those laws. Had that been Bronwyn’s crime? Had practicing forbidden arts precipitated her arrest? He sighed. After all this time, the answers to such questions were of secondary concern; he was here to find his nephew.
The gangplank fell, its loud bang shattering his reverie. A helmeted, sword-clad, bodyguard guided a pair of wealthy benefactors down to the dock. Attired in latest Suzerain fashion, the portly man was bedecked in brightly colored tunic and leggings, loose-fitting breeches, and a chaperon cap. His wife’s garish attire made her husband’s look tame.
Porters arrived, gathered their belongings, and escorted them to a waiting carriage. They boarded and left. Jarek watched their departure with envy. Had the crewmen recovered his baggage in timely fashion, he’d be on that carriage too.
With the gentry’s departure, the more modestly dressed common folk disembarked too. Soon all passengers were off the ship but him. “You!” he hollered at the nearest porter, “Have they gotten to my belongings yet?” The young man’s eyes darted about, hoping it wasn’t he that Jarek had hailed. Ever did sorcerer’s garb intimidate the mundane. “Come,” Jarek encouraged, motioning the lad to come join him, “I wish you no ill, I’m simply anxious to be on my way.”