Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Tristan’s Folly’ by Marcus Lee organised by Storytellers on Tour, which is the second installment in the Gifted and the Cursed. I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE).
There is also a giveaway where you can get your hands on a digital bundle of this series (Kings & Daemons & Tristan’s Folly) and the link to that can be found at the bottom of the page.
*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’*
Tristan’s Folly. An ageing fortress built over fifty years ago to repel the invading hordes of the Witch-King, Daleth, an invasion that never materialised – until now.
Now the stronghold is a crumbling reflection of its former might, with a mere fifteen hundred men all that stands between Daleth’s savage horde of a hundred thousand, and certain doom for the Freestates.
As Kings and Daemons face one another, there is but one shining light that pushes back the encroaching darkness, but even her flame is slated to be extinguished thanks to Tristan’s Folly.
In this epic tale of a battle against the odds, the best and worst of humankind collide … sacrifice, bravery and love, set against betrayal, greed and hatred.
Having read and loved the first book in this series Kings & Daemons, I was delighted to get the chance to read Tristan’s Folly and as high as my hopes and expectations were, they have been blown entirely out of the water with this one. It has taken all the aspects that I loved about the first book – the darkness of the world, the writing and characterisation and polished them to perfection while taking the action and twists and turns to another level…and that ending!
There is no easing into this story, it hits the ground running and doesn’t let up, and even in the brief pauses between the peaks of action, the tension of the situation, and the atmosphere that Lee builds up from word one is very present. Immersing you not just in the story but in what the characters themselves were experiencing.
Sieges can be hard to get right, I’ve read good and bad attempts, and Tristan’s Folly is up there with the best, and I particularly loved how this one was approached, and that we got to see both sides of the conflict. There was no nameless, faceless enemy here, there were people on both sides, and even those who are ‘the bad guys’ are incredibly human, and because we get that exploration of both sides, you can’t help but feel for all the characters involved in the conflict. This was paired with expertly judged peaks and troughs in the action, and a sense of anticipation in the quiet moments, waiting for something to happen, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat (and glued to the pages). Lee also doesn’t shy away from the brutal reality of siege warfare and combat, and there is always a sense of peril, with real consequences and loss to deepen both the events themselves, but also the character development that occurs throughout.
The characters have continued to grow both as individuals in terms of their relationships with one another, without losing the distinct voices that set them apart in the first book, and it has been a delight to see this development happening in both an exciting and believable way. It was a joy to return to familiar characters, but also meet a new cast of characters who were just as well-fleshed out, and who seamlessly became part of the world, and I enjoy that it is an ensemble cast because that offers so many more viewpoints and voices, and again plays into the realism of the situation when there is no singular hero – which is not to say that the characters didn’t have their own individual moment to shine.
I particularly enjoyed the play on the two leaders – Tristan and Daleth, who don’t play into the characterisation you might expect from their positions in their world. Done in such a way that it’s utterly believable based on their experiences and status, and they are both fantastic, multi-faceted characters because of that. That is one of Lee’s strengths in that he doesn’t play to expectations, and all the characters took steps that caught me by surprise in their development, and that’s outside of the twists and turns and betrayals.
Similarly, the worldbuilding has continued to expand and develop, and while Tristan’s Folly is very much character-driven the world hasn’t been left behind, and we learn more about The Ember Kingdom and the Freestates in tantalising glimpses and experiences through the characters. What this second book has also really developed is the magical system that we were introduced to in the first book, and what is exciting is that this isn’t a static system, it is evolving even as the books progress and I look forward to seeing more of this in the next book.
Tristan’s Folly was an absolutely brilliant read that I just devoured and then immediately wanted to read more and the third book – The End of Dreams cannot come soon enough, and I will eagerly waiting to get my hands on it and find out what will become of the characters and world that Lee has brought to life. Fantastic writing, gripping action and characters that really bring the world and narrative to life, I really can’t recommend this series highly enough.
About the Author:
Writing hasn’t always been a serious hobby for me … but it has always been there, lurking in the shadows, serving me well when called upon.
As I look back over the years, I realise I was guilty of writing many short stories, as well as poetry, and I’d like to think, that even if they were never intended to be published, they were nonetheless warmly received by the intended recipients.
Then in 2019, I was inspired to write not just a short story, or poetry, but a book. Then, suddenly, one book turned into a trilogy and a labour of love, and it was a love I wanted to share with the world.
So, here we are. The pandemic that put my career in sport on hold also gave me the opportunity to lavish time on my alternative hobby, or if demand dictates my new career.
However, only you, the reader, will decide whether this trilogy, which is still a work in progress, will be the first of many. I genuinely hope so.
Who knows, now these creatives juices are flowing, I might just keep on writing anyway.
Epic fantasy has been my favourite genre since I first read The Odyssey and The Illiad as a seven-year-old. Now it’s my turn to see if I can bring another world to life in the imagination of others.
Tristan’s Folly (The Gifted and the Cursed #2) – Marcus Lee – ***** (5/5 Stars)
The Gifted and the Cursed ebook bundle – One (1) of three (3) digital sets of Kings & Daemons and Tristan’s Folly (International)
Starts: November 29th, 2020 at 12:00am EST
Ends: December 6th, 2020 at 11:59pm ESTa Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
Or you can enter: HERE
If you’ve read it or read in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.