Saturday 3 August 2019

#BookReview — Across the Fourwinds (The Maidstone Chronicles #1) by Shane Trusz and Darryl Frayne #Fantasy #Historical

Across the Fourwinds
(The Maidstone Chronicles #1)
By Shane Trusz and Darryl Frayne

Most high school grads hold a world of opportunity in their hands. Will and Morgan hold the fate of two worlds. 

Since his mother’s tragic accident, Will has been a loner. And for good reason: he claims to see strange creatures emerging from the forest near his home. Ostracism is a way of life until he meets Morgan, a fencing champion with everything going for her—except a dark family secret. 

In pursuit of answers, these unlikely friends enter the forest and discover a magical kingdom threatened by a powerful enemy. When a young sage reveals their true identities, Will and Morgan join a small but courageous resistance on a quest to save the Fourwinds. 

Can friendship and hope stop the swelling tide of destruction from breaching the portal into our world? 

“I believe what you saw was a creature called a harvester...”

Morgan Finley’s life had changed when her family moved to Cochrane, Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, who had been so supportive of her fencing career, and so loving, has became someone Morgan and her mother fear.

Will Owens’ life had been blessedly normal until his mother had died in a tragic accident, and his father, unable to live without her, killed himself. Now Will sees things that are not there — strange creatures with glowing eyes and evil intents crawling out of the Arden Forest. But, no one believes him because no one else sees what he does. The whole town thinks him mentally ill, as do the doctors. Ostracised by those he grew up with, Will must endure a terrible isolation. He is friendless and alone, that was until the day he met Morgan. Not long after that, the strange creatures crept into the town, and people began to die.

From the small sleepy town of Cochrane to the mysterious yet beautiful land of the Four Kingdoms, Across the Fourwinds (The Maidstone Chronicles #1) by Shane Trusz and Darryl Frayne is a story that is not only radiant in its narrative but reads with an almost lyrical sense of movement and grace.

Written with a great deal of imagination and energy, Across the Fourwinds is one of those books that a reader can quickly lose themselves in. I found myself transported to a land where anything was possible, and mythical creatures ruled supreme. You will find them all here — the elusive elves, the treacherous gnomes, the frightful minotaurs, the wary yet beautiful mermaids, and of course, the mighty dragon. This book is the epitome of fantasy.

But, this book is no fairy tale. These are dark days for an evil Dark Queen threatens to destroy not only the Four Kingdoms but Earth as well, and she is growing more powerful by the minute. Thrown through a gateway, Will and Morgan find themselves on an adventure of a lifetime as they join forces with Rowe of the Nest to destroy the Dark Queen — it is the only way to bring order and peace back to the land. Trusz and Frayne have penned some highly appealing characters. Will’s story pulled at my heartstrings. Everyone thinks he has lost his mind and avoids him because of this, at times, even Will believes he is ill — if no one else can see these demon-like creatures then surely they are just a cruel trick of his imagination? When Will finally discovers the truth and realises that he is gifted with the sight, the relief he feels is tempered only by the fact that he has no idea how to defeat these dark monsters. I thoroughly enjoyed watching his character grow with confidence throughout this story. Will is a young hero who a reader can really get behind. Likewise, Morgan is a wonderfully dynamic young woman who is brave and courageous, but also fearful of the world she finds herself in. Her outrage at the injustice she sees and her compassionate heart made Morgan an unforgettable character.

There is one other character that I have to mention, and that is Rowe. He is brave and honourable and kind — the perfect guide for Will and Morgan as they navigate this foreign land. I thought Rowe was fabulously portrayed. His compassion and his foresight made him an extremely likeable character.

The setting of this story is luxuriantly detailed, and even though it is fictional, it feels authentic. Kudos, Mr Trusz and Mr Frayne.

Across the Fourwinds (The Maidstone Chronicles #1) is a real treat for lovers of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Pick up your copy of
Across the Fourwinds
Amazon UK • Amazon US

Shane Trusz

For as long as I can remember, I've had the soul of a gypsy. Having lived in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and Haiti, I seem most comfortable when there's change brewing on the horizon. 

My adventure into the world of writing began just as my life was coming to an end, or at least it seemed that way for a time. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with Recurrent Idiopathic Pericarditis. Overnight, I went from a typical teenager with great parents, growing up in Cochrane- snowboarding, mountain biking, and playing any sport with a ball- to being laid up in bed for weeks at a time in terrible pain. Living in the deep north, we were 8 hours away from an MRI machine and for a while, things didn't look so good as doctors struggled to figure out what was happening, and why. The pericarditis would come back a few times a year throughout my teenage years and for a while, I lost my way. I remember being rushed via air ambulance to Toronto and my Ante Linda had sent along a book for me, The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks. I wasn't a reader back then, and when I finally succumbed to the boredom (imagine being in a bed for weeks in a world before the Internet), I finally cracked the cover and my world was forever changed. 

Life doesn't always end up the way we think it should, but isn't that part of the ride? Hard lessons are sometimes necessary to prepare us for the next big adventure as we journey towards leaving this world a little better off than when we arrived. 

After finishing the original Shannara Trilogy, I started writing. I can't remember when exactly I started, but I do remember having a plethora of ideas as I tended to do a lot of daydreaming, especially in school. I spent years writing books that will never see the light of day as I cut my teeth learning this new craft. To this day, if I don't get my ideas down on paper regularly, I feel out-of-sorts.

My greatest challenge as a writer stemmed from the fact that I loved to write massive stories, and conversely, struggled to no end with the countless tiny details of flushing out something great. Shortly after moving back to Canada from Haiti, I reconnected with an old friend, Darryl Frayne. I knew Darryl was just about the complete opposite of me, in that he loves to mine the gems found beneath the extra words that don't belong on the page. He works down in the weeds, pruning and clipping and shredding and planting and changing the paths as required to develop great story. The magic that unfolded was...well, I suppose you can be the judge. 

In the in-betweens, I married my high school crush back in 1998. Joy has added all manner of color to my life and to this day, makes life an absolute thrill ride. When our son came along in 2004, well, I love viewing the world through his animated features and cannot wait to see how he is going to leave the world better off than when he arrived.

Darryl Frayne

I was born in Ontario, Canada and have lived in various places in Ontario as well as brief stints as a post-secondary student in Wisconsin, Missouri, and British Columbia.

After university, I married my best friend and we settled in Langley, BC. I never imagined we would stay in Langley for long, but here we are, decades later. And I love it. 

I've worked in the graphics industry since university to help pay the bills and raise two amazing sons. But my love of research and writing has never faded. It led me to pursue an M.A. at Regent College in Vancouver (2007) and to write numerous articles online.

As far as I can remember, my journey into writing began when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I had always enjoyed stories, so I experimented with some comic-book style writing. I would draw my characters in small boxes, complete with talking bubbles for dialogue!

My favorite books growing up include The Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings. As an adult, some of my favorite fiction writers include Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, and more recently, Michael J. Sullivan. I also have an affinity for YA stories with believable, endearing characters created by authors like J.K. Rowling, Kate DiCamillo, Rick Riordan, and Suzanne Collins. I could list so many others; there are far too many wonderful stories to read!

I am grateful for my timely meeting, subsequent friendship, and working relationship with Shane Trusz. He has a great gift for storytelling, conceiving grand adventures, and passionately spreading the word about our books. Although we are different in many ways, I am constantly surprised at--and thankful for--the way our gifts unite to form unique, enjoyable stories.

Connect with the authors: WebsiteBlog.

1 comment:

  1. Beatrice Rivers8 August 2019 at 08:07

    Congratulations! Your book sounds amazing.


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Mary Anne xxx