Betrayal cuts deep. Love cuts even deeper.
The war with the elves is over. But for Teregryn Eve, the human king’s former right-hand man, another nightmare is about to begin.
It’s taken Teregryn two years to recover his health and magic in the aftermath of the war. He’d rather retire from the world of men, but an assassination threat and a malevolent ghost force him on a quest to save the king who no longer wants him. The elves are dead to the last, so who’s the mysterious assassin? And why has his king—who was once so much more to him—forsaken him?
The answers may lie in Teregryn’s mind, but those memories are locked beyond his reach. As a web of lies and love unfolds around him, Teregryn must fight the past and present in a desperate bid for the future. Can he save everything he loves, or will the sum of his crimes drag him under first?
For her debut work Tal Valante has created a very atmospheric story that draws you into a world of fantasy amidst the horrors and memories of war. For Teregryn Eve, the war has left him traumatized and even after being proclaimed cured he's still suffering the afteraffects of the acts he was forced into committing in the name of warfare.
As a reader we don't see the actual acts of torture done to him but by his demeanor, the anguish he still feels utterly oozes from him. He goes from depressed to angry to paranoid all within a few moments and it made me extremely sympathetic to him. It's especially sad knowing that he was used as a pawn for the so-called greater good. Even after his feelings of being betrayed by the King, he's still a loyal soldier and does all he can to save him from a perceived threat.
There's clearly an emotional and loving connection between Teregryn and the King even though we never see anything beyond a casual yet intense touch. Through his intensity Teregryn's love is quite clear. I would've loved to see a more in-depth look into their past relationship and that's the one drawback to this being a short story, not much background development.
Ms. Valante has certainly intrigued me though. This is a fascinating world she's created between elves and humans and I'm dying to learn more about it. I see this short story as a stepping stone/a welcome mat to a fascinating world with many more stories to tell. I'll definitely be keeping my eye on this promising new author and recommend you do as well.
My rating for this is a B-
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.