The King of Stonewood Jeremy Hayes
The kingdom of Stonewood has been taken over by the cult ruled by an evil demon named Lucivenus whose main goal is to pass laws, restrict movements and keep the people of the city under his iron rule. As the book opens we meet Evonne the bounty hunter and her partner who are fine adversaries and have taken another path but for how long? Escaping from captivity and then falling into the hands of the guards and being dragged and beaten after being confined in a dungeon for a long time, what happens at the last minute will not only safe them but ignite a spark that will set off many different events headed by Harcourt. But, not everything is what it seems and sometimes magic and creating illusions can convince your enemies that they might be in danger and your friends that hope might be on the way. Author Jeremy Hayes brings back our favorite thief Harcourt who has managed to elude capture and hide or fake his real identity. As his two friends are about to die someone magically appears, shoots arrows at the guards while pretended to be someone else. Someone gave him a mask that enables him to change his identity in order stay many more steps ahead of what the cult has planned for him and others. Showing up with help just at the right time, allowing the citizens to think that the King of Stonewood has resurfaced creates quite a stir as he disguises himself as the King but there is more to come.
High Priest Servin is determined to eliminate anyone that tries to undermine his power, go against the new King or the demon cult. Guilt problems still prevail and the need to enlist the help of the thieves, other guilds and informants, Harcourt uses not only his mask but his friends as he reaches out to other guilds, thieves and promises them full payment for their full support. The new Demon cult or enemy is stronger than ever and ridding Stonewood of this cult led by chief Magistrate, Krommel has yet to occur. With the Demon King released from his prison as a result of five people being killed and their five hearts released this even man now rules. Sometimes it might be better to not have the purest and kindest heart when the end result might be your death. Lucivenus has now taken over the Thieves Guild, Stonewood and will stop at nothing to find out if the King is really alive and finally destroy him. At his side is the high priest but at Harcourt’s side is Captain Dornell who provides him with information and his sword. Thinking our favorite thief if dead allows him the mobility to move around without anyone suspecting that he is really the person impersonating the King. . Thinking that Harcourt is dead helps him embrace his disguises even though at times he wishes he could reveal that he is alive to those that mattered to him before.
Stonewood has always presented itself as trouble for Harcourt and with the help of Krestina lives that are in jeopardy might be saved as the Demon King orders those within the church killed setting an example for the rest. But, Harcourt aka the King and many other faces that he is able to replicate to perform his duties and try and retake Stonewood for the people, faces many obstacles, has to convince members of many guilds to join forces with him but what happens when Krestina is in danger, the members are hidden and Harcourt comes to the rescue. Friendship change and Krestina has become a nun, her healing powers well known and their friendship rekindled but in a different way. Deceits, trickery, treachery, murder and a city under siege in more ways than one. As Harcourt dons many different faces and reawakens the face of the head of the Thieves Guild Weldrick but one person is not fooled and things could get dangerous if he’s found out. Harcourt is leader as he takes his place as the head of Stonewood, the head of the Thieves Guild, deals with his old nemesis and Captain, enlists the help of a known thief and dangerous man Randar, making him an offer he cannot refuse. When his real identity is revealed to someone will this person betray him? Investigations Captain Donnell once again joins forces with Harcourt but can he be trusted this time? Once again the author takes us inside the minds of the members of the guilds, those fighting for the rights of the citizens, a High Priest that justifies his actions, the curfews and the hampering to the livelihood of so many, as once again we equate the guilds to members of gangs trying to get control, fight for their turf as one wants to stifle the public and withhold their freedoms while the other wants to protect them. Evonne, Vrawg, Fezzdin the wizard and Na’Jala are all ban together to find a way to rid them of the Demon Cult King and find a way to restore Stonewood. Old friends unite; freedoms hang in the balance and the fate of Stonewood at large. Once again can a bounty hunter, an assassin, a former gladiator and loyal friends battle the High Priest Sarvin once more to stop what has been set in motion. ?
With Harcourt playing many roles it was inevitable that his real identity would be revealed. A deadly assassin named Feylane who he has decided to trust. Fezzdin the wizard, Krestina his true love, the old captain, thieves from many guilds, and the knowledge of what the Circle of Three possessed and which two things would give them the leverage to retake the city and overthrow the Demon Cult King. Unions, guilds, pension and hopefully getting pay raises for your efforts do not apply to the type of unions that many belong to in Stonewood. As Harcourt puts his life on the line, spent four months in the dungeon for stealing will his amazing talents be for naught as he seeks out the two items needed, the book that will reveal secrets that will help him regain the city and learn the power of the Demon King, just how far can he and his loyal friends stretch themselves before someone is sacrificed. Andil, a young thief who Harcourt hates but uses for his own purposes just wants to get back into his good graces. How far will he go to prove his loyalty? Raising the dead and meeting the undead as they fight battle after battle, stretch themselves thin. Who will survive? Who remains loyal to Harcourt? Everyone is corrupt in some way and although guards protect the city which ones can be trusted and which are paid to kill on sight. When the Ambassador is summoned to the Demon King what happens to her is not for the feint or squeamish to read, as her end will provide a tasty morsel for meal for this sick creature.
What would you do if you could change your appearance at will using a magic mask? How many faces can he use before the truth is finally revealed?
Sometimes we need to stay close to our enemies in order to protect our friends. Randar, Serdic and a guard named Zenod enjoy their mission to inflict pain and would love to take Harcourt down. But, professing their loyalties to him, stating they will fight by his side could prove costly if they betray him. A sorceress named Syrena playing two sides of the evil coin learns about a plot to capture the Prince. Will she remain loyal to him or will she tell the Demon King what he needs to know in order to capture him? What happens when they decide to go after the Prince’s family?
Soul wraiths, the zombies or undead, fight the living, deceptions are revealed and betrayals run high as Harcourt and his friends race time before it runs out to get Stonewood back. So vividly depicted you can paint your own picture and reproduce it in your own mind.
Called out and challenged Lucivenus and Harcourt face off but not without their minions. Can Krestina, Dornell, Fezzdin and the rest face Lucivenus and The High Priest and win? An ending that will keep your heart racing and the final fate of some many at stake. Just what happens to Harcourt and Krestina? What about Evonne and Vrawg? Someone from the past comes back in a different light in the present as Trascar needs to be finally silenced but how you just won’t believe. What does Krestina do or whom does she bring back from the dead in order to stop Trascar, save Harcourt and Stonewood? When Orval finally takes charge of the northern army, the south district falls away from the Demon King the end result will change many lives.
Characters whose flaws are many and whose lives intertwine to create this multi-leveled plot crafted by author Jeremy Hayes.
Magic, spells, an elixir that will instantly take years off of your life, a priestess whose touch can heal wounds and a demon King that can strike at any time. Just how far will Harcourt go to win back Stonewood? What is the price he pays for someone’s help? Scenes graphically described that will make you hold your breath not knowing the final outcome? When Feylane realizes that Harcourt does not want her in the same way she wants him what will the assassin do? What sacrifice does Syrena make? Why? An ending that will remind you of the beginning when you meet both Harcourt and Krestina? Wishes come true when you least expect them as the past comes full circle in the present in a unique way. Let’s give this book: FIVE GOLDEN CUPS OF THE YOUTH ELIXIR: SOUNDS TASTY TO ME!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer