In the first post for today I am delighted to be part of the Storytellers on Tour Blog Tour for The Secret of the Sword by Sean R. Bell which is the first book in The Grandfather Chronicles. There is also a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself at the end of the post.
Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
An ancient bloodline. A powerful enemy. A hidden sword with the power to save or destroy the Earth.
Ian Dekker is a twenty-five-year-old filmmaker and hockey fanatic living a happy life in Toronto, but little does he know his destiny is about to change forever. The arrival of a mysterious letter from his deceased grandfather draws him back to his home city of Montreal, to his grandfather’s old house, where he follows clues that lead him to an astonishing truth. Ian is a descendant of the Pendragons: the family who, in the Middle Ages, established a vast empire in Western Europe, giving rising to legendary figures such as the High King Uther, whose mentor was none other than the great wizard Merlin. However, as Ian learns, King Uther had a jealous sibling named Morgana, who, after living in her brother’s shadow, turned to darkness in order to gain power and exact her revenge. Merlin and Uther managed to trap Morgana inside the sword Excalibur—but now, centuries later, she is on the brink of escaping her magical prison with the help of loyal followers.
This is where Ian comes in. Just like his grandfather before him, Ian must harness his magic and inner strength in order to keep evil at bay. Armed with only his grandfather’s journal, myth comes to life, and Ian is swept into an adventure that takes him across the world and between realms—from light into shadow—as he accepts his destiny. By his side is his childhood friend, Kate, as well as his mother, Lynn, who both help him navigate the mysterious waters of his family history. Ian’s courage and strength are tested as he searches for answers, meeting cruel enemies along the way who use trickery and possession in order to pursue Ian in his quest. In this story, good and evil have the same destination, and only the legacy of a grandson—fuelled by his grandfather’s love and trust—can save the world from complete destruction.
I love Arthurian tales both traditional and retellings, and the premise for The Secret of the Sword immediately intrigued me and I knew that I had to pick this one up and I am glad that I did. Bell has created an interesting, modern twist on Arthurian legend, drawing on the traditional locations and characters and combining it with modern-day Canada and modern-age characters, in a way that works really well.
With such contrasting time periods and elements, it has the potential to be chaotic, but there is an ease to the transitions and a well-developed balance, that really brings it together. Part of why it works so well is that the book itself is a mix of genres. It is undoubtedly fantasy, but Bell has drawn in elements of supernatural, mystery and thriller and even a dusting of contemporary, to make up a blend all of his own without losing sight of the story’s heart.
In terms of the characters, while it didn’t feel like there was too much development across the course of the book, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t get a good sense of the characters and their relationships. One of my favourite aspects of the book in fact was the relationship and history that our main protagonist Ian shared with his grandfather, there was a depth of feeling and connection there, and I think it really helped establish the family-orientated nature of this book, but also to anchor the more fantastical elements. Ian was a very likeable character in his own right, and easy to connect with.
I will say that I did feel that the writing itself didn’t quite live up to the potential of the characters and storyline. There are some brilliant bits of description in places, but outside of that it did feel almost formal in its presentation which seemed at odds with the family-orientated nature of this story, and it just left me feeling a little disconnected in places, particularly with some of the dialogue.
However, the story itself and what Bell has chosen to do with the setting and the Arthurian elements was fantastic, and he has created an entertaining book that was a quick read and a welcome break between some chonky books. Definitely a series I will be keeping my eye on, and a fun read for anyone with an interest in Arthurian tales.
Sean Bell is a Canadian author. Growing up, his creativity and interests were encouraged by the loving relationship he shared with his grandfather. An avid reader, he has long been fascinated by epic narratives, fantasy literature, Arthurian legends, and powerful villains. Combined, these influences led to the writing of his first book, The Secret of the Sword, which is part of his forthcoming series, The Grandfather Chronicles. His imagination and dedication to nurturing family values has helped Sean in creating a world filled with magic that readers of all ages will relate to. He currently resides in St. Catharines, Ontario, with his dog Rocky.
Prize:The Secret of the Sword by Sean R. Bell – International
Grand Prize: A Signed Hardcover Copy
Runner-Up: A Signed Paperback Copy
Starts: December 12th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: December 19th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
You can enter Here