The War Priests of Andrak Saga Book 1 By Christian Warren Freed
Published on: July 15, 2018
A tale that hints of the dark-side of fantasy with moments of mild horror and suspense, but one that is also rich in storytelling and world-building. The Children of Never is the follow-on novel to The Purifying Flame, which won honorable mention in the Future Contest.
The Children of Never is the follow on novel to the L Ron Hubbard Writer’s of the Future Contest 4th place winner The Purifying Flame.
The war priests of Andrak have protected the world from the encroaching darkness for generations. Stewards of the Purifying Flame, the priests stand upon their castle walls each year for 100 days. Along with the best fighters, soldiers, and adventurers from across the lands, they repulse the Omegri invasions.
But their strength wanes and evil spreads.
Lizette awakens to a nightmare, for her daughter has been stolen during the night. When she goes to the Baron to petition aid, she learns that similar incidents are occurring across the duchy. Her daughter was just the beginning. Baron Einos of Fent is left with no choice but to summon the war priests.
Brother Quinlan is a haunted man. Last survivor of Castle Bendris, he now serves Andrak. Despite his flaws, the Lord General recognizes Quinlan as one of the best he has. Sending him to Fent is his best chance for finding the missing children and restoring order. Quinlan begins a quest that will tax his strength and threaten the foundations of his soul.
The Grey Wanderer stalks the lands, and where he goes, bad things follow. The dead rise and the Omegri launch a plan to stop time and overrun the world. The duchy of Fent is just the beginning.
In this dark fantasy world, the children of Fent are being abducted and the Grey Wanderer has brought back to life a man once dead. Although life isn’t quite what I would call his existence, it is more like a partial life as he is indebted to follow the requests of those who raised him back up. But after nearly twenty children go missing, even the Baron of the land can no longer pretend it isn’t occurring or have only the minimal amount of resources dedicated to finding the children, especially after he sees the ghost of one in his private chambers. The only possible solution is to send a request to the Priests of Andrak for assistance.
In this world, the Priests of Andrak are respected, feared. They hold back the Omegri, or demon-like creatures, from entering during the Burning Season. The Omegri only have a small amount of influence in the realm of the living, but what they want is more and they use the Burning Season – a hundred day period where the Omegri try to re-enter the world – to gain a foothold. The ongoing battle between the War Priests and the Omegri has taken a huge toll, the War Priests once were many castles strong, but now only have one last castle: Castle Andrak.
The main story actually follows along a couple of different paths. One is with the Quinlan, the War Priest who has come to Fent to assist in finding the children and put down Baron Lord, the deceased man who is abducting them. The other is with the local troops who patrol between two villages looking for Baron Lord as he wanders. But there in one of the villages something else is a bit off and the leaders of the troops begin to investigate although their methods seem a bit unrefined.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and found the writing and storytelling very fluid. It is always a pleasure to find books where I am immediately drawn into the story from the beginning as I did when I read the descriptive language in the first chapter regarding the Grey Wanderer and the children. In addition, there were a few other things I came to really appreciate:
1) The story is from a different perspective than your typical fantasy novel, which is really nice to see. You don’t always have to save the world or come into great powers or form a rebellion to have a good story. Not to mention the mild horror aspects of it that help set the mood, especially at the beginning.
2) The back story of the War Priests regarding what they do and how they do it was told very judiciously. They aren’t overly explained with their entire history give to us. To me there is a still a shroud of mystery about them as I am still not quite sure what all their capabilities are and where their magical power lies.
3) The characters each had their own concerns, worries, fears, and flaws to work through. Baron Einos may be Lord of the land, but even he worries about rebellion if answers can’t be found. Lizette, the mother of one of the missing children, finds her voice as a representative between the Baron and the family. Sergeant Sava, a soldier in charge of the troops, is a character whom I suspect isn’t one that you are necessarily supposed to love, but perhaps come to appreciate as he does what he feels he needs to do to maintain troop preparedness. (I’m actually still working through my feelings on this character and haven’t decided if I like him as a character or hated him.)
The only concern I did have was the additional War Priest being brought in toward the end as I wondered what their role is. However, since this is a new series I suspect this character may be helping to set up future books.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Thank you to the author for a review copy and the opportunity to provide an honest review.