“Beginning of a Hero (Legends of Windemere)”
“Beginning of a Hero” is the first book in the “Legends of Windemere” series. It is a strong debut novel that also functions as a stand-alone book. The author lives and breathes Windemere through every chapter, and effectively immerses the reader in his fantasy world.
Unusually, it’s written in third person present, and it took me a few chapters to get used to this P.O.V. Overall, I think it was a good choice, creating an immediacy to the story: a sense of it happening now, rather than being a distant historical account.
The hero of the book title is Luke Callindor, a young forest tracker born into a family of adventurers. In chapter one, we find him searching for adventure in the forest of Visindor with his pet dog Stiletto:
“We left home six months ago and I haven’t done anything heroic yet. All my ancestors were great heroes of Windemere, so why should I be any different?”
Luke has a lot at stake in becoming a hero. He is inwardly conflicted by wanting to live up to his family’s reputation, while at the same time becoming a hero in this own right. It is while he is reflecting on his failure to find adventure, that he stumbles upon the messenger who is to provide him with the challenge that will either make or break him.
The messenger informs him that he has been sent to find a bodyguard to protect the heir of Duke Solomon, an important aristocrat in Windemere, from an Evil Lich. The Lich has already dispatched of the Paladin, who was the original recruit for this post. With very few qualms, Luke fabricates his experiences as an adventurer, in order to secure this mission for his own.
He convinces the messenger of his suitability for the role of protector. The messenger then provides him with a scroll from Duke Solomon: a scholarship to Hamilton Military Academy, where the heir is currently a first year student. The identity of the heir is a secret, even to Selenia Hamilton, the principal of the academy. Luke has to enrol at the academy, and find allies, in order to discover the identity of the heir. While conducting his search, Luke also has to live with the real danger that there may be a hidden assassin lurking within the academy’s walls.
The characters in this book are rich and varied. The reader is introduced to a wide range of fantasy creatures. Characters that stood out for me are Aedyn, a priest and half-elf, Nimby, a Halfling, Fritz, a greasy gnome, Theresa, a calico, and Fizzle, a playful drite. There is also a character that becomes the romantic focus for Luke, the part of the story that I found least convincing. In contrast to the protagonist and his motley gang, the Lich and Hellfire Elf lead an army of fearful antagonists.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy tales. This is a book for anyone who enjoys a book packed with action and adventure. Every aspect, including the dialogue, helps to drive the action forward, and there weren’t any moments where it dragged, or I felt bored.
Will I be reading more by this author? Yes, absolutely.
“Beginning of a Hero” is available on Amazon and from Goodreads in both Kindle and paperback versions.