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Hell's Reward (The Age of Heroes) by James Hudnall
Review by Drew Bittner
Starbridge Media Kindle Edition  ISBN/ITEM#: B00FVYNXCW
Date: 13 October 2013

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

A blind man comes upon a farmer as rain starts to fall. In exchange for shelter, he trades a tale of a monk and the incursion of monstrous creatures...at a farm much like theirs. As the blind man leaves, the farmer and his family ponder the meaning of the blind manís story.

Thus begins Age of Heroes: Hell's Reward by James Hudnall. This epic fantasy takes place in a world that has known peace for some timeóbut that peace is about to be shattered, as a mythical threat proves all too real.

In the second segment, the action is mostly a dialogue between a sellsword named Conor and a mysterious woman named Glinda. Conor seeks employment, Glinda needs help, and somehow it all revolves around the temple of Xera. She is one of the seemingly bygone gods, whose passing ended the Age of Wonders and began the Age of Heroes.

The third segment introduces the two rogues, Luko and Aerwyn, who seek to rob the wealth from a city's fabled statues. (The statues are more than they seem, but that comes into play much later.) They run afoul of the Night Guild, which has its fingers in criminal enterprises throughout the city of Rynwold. But the Guild is also on other business, namely the finding and killing of Conor. When Mael the knight, Drake the blind swordsman, and Wex the monk enter the picture, the action really heats up. Fate brings these seven together, and sends them on an improbable quest: to discover the truth behind the return of the monstrous Unwen, and perhaps save the world from an invasion.

Hudnall's story is rich with fantasy's best-loved elements, including a tale-teller who is far more than he appears, a band of mismatched heroes drawn toward danger, and magic aplenty. There is plenty of adventure ahead for the heroes, as they must brave threats from their own pasts as well as monsters from legend. If they--or the world--are going to survive, they must become more than heroes. They must become legends.

Age of Heroes: Hell's Reward is the first in a series, adapted from a graphic novel by Hudnall and illustrator John Ridgway. Ridgway provides splendid interior art for the book, providing great context for the adventures Hudnall depicts. It's a great fusion and hopefully the first of many.

Recommended.

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