In the Company of the Dead
Review by Dee Krull
This story has a little of everything; mystery, intrigue, forbidden love, valor, magic and action packed battles. The author has done her research and it is very well written. It makes you laugh, cry, and a few of the scenes were downright scary.
In times of dragons, Gods and Goddesses and dark magic you have to be on your guard and if you live in a castle where men and women alike, wielded swords to save life and limb, life is hard and often short.
Lyrm Aharris has been exiled to the remote corner of the king’s lands; son of a Duke, King’s Sword and chief military advisor to the King of Ahlleyn, he is now suspected of killing his wife Zaheva. She was the love of his life and as an exile he has succumbed to drinking his sorrows away; leaving, Everard, his trusted “aid to the camp,” to worry about his state of mind.
After twelve months of exile, because he insulted the prince of Ahlleyn, an army of mercenaries camp outside the old walls of the Caisteal Aingeal; also known as Castle of the Angel of Death, because of the Priestess’ of Ahura who live there. He is offered the lives of his men and the people who live inside the castle walls, but only if he goes willingly. The question is; to his death, imprisonment, or is there another reason behind this invasion? So the mystery begins and a battle ensues. How can a small regiment of men and farmers stand against an army of two thousand?
Before the attack Lyram makes a plan to give himself up even though his men would rather fight for him. Before the battle begins his plan is thwarted by the arrival of Ellaeva, Battle Priestess to Ahura “Goddess of Death, Truth, and Justice.” After she saves his life she tells him she has come to save him and the castle from this army in the name of the Goddess she serves; or has she?
They are attracted to each other; unknowing at first, but the writing is on the wall. She is forbidden love by her oath to Ahura and he is still in love with his dead wife; there is no hope for love between them. Ellaeva has information that there is a Rahmyrrim in their midst; a necromancer in service to Rahmyr, “The Goddess of Decay, Despair and Corruption.” As a Battle Priestess she has the power of Ahura’s magic to find and kill this dark and deadly scourge. Called “The Left Hand of Death,” Ellaeva has no friends; most are afraid of her, but Lyram treats her as he would any soldier in his service; as an equal. His friendship makes her question the life she has lived and what life means to her.
Battles begin and many die from battle, illness and dark magic and no one knows how they will stay alive to see another day as they fight for their lives against evil worse than any known to mankind.
I choose not to reveal the mystery and suspense of this story but I do have a downside as well. When I started reading I found there to be too much description of armor, battlements and old English names for many of the props in the story. I was board and wished I hadn’t agreed to review this book. However, the more I read the more believable I found the characters and the more I was drawn into their plight. I do recommend this book for those who like fantasy based on factual styled events. I have given this book four stars; only because of the overwriting and there were many mistakes throughout the second half of the book. It really needs to be re-edited as do many books out there; including those published by traditional publishers. This was a five star read if you enjoy this genera. I would recommend reading it.