Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"The Garden of Stones," by Mark T. Barnes

This fantasy is book 1 of the Echoes of Empire series. In-depth world-building and an ambitious story arc make this a recommended read for lovers of fantasy fiction!

The Garden of Stones (Echoes of Empire), by Mark T. Barnes

"Barnes has done 2 things to grab my attention. The first is crafting characters I care about. I really did, I found myself caring what happened to Mari and Indris. The second was creating a living, breathing world with an intricate magic system, and complex military and political machinations to enjoy and really sink one's teeth into. If you love Tolkien, you will enjoy this book. Robert Jordan fans will also feel right at home. Brooks (of Sword of Shannara fame) and R.A. Salvator (of Legend of Drizzt fame) I included not so much because of their long and flowing prose, but because of their high spirited adventures, comedy, interesting worlds, and real threats of danger. -- Amazon reviewer

An uneasy peace has existed since the fall of the Awakened Empire centuries ago. Now the hybrid Avān share the land with the people they once conquered: the star-born humans; the spectral, undead Nomads; and what remains of the Elemental Masters.

With the Empress-in-Shadows an estranged ghost, it is the ancient dynasties of the Great Houses and the Hundred Families that rule. But now civil war threatens to draw all of Shrīan into a vicious struggle sparked by one man’s lust for power, and his drive to cheat death.

Visions have foretold that Corajidin, dying ruler of House Erebus, will not only survive, but rise to rule his people. The wily nobleman seeks to make his destiny certain—by plundering the ruins of his civilization’s past for the arcane science needed to ensure his survival, and by mercilessly eliminating his rivals. But mercenary warrior-mage Indris, scion of the rival House Näsarat, stands most powerfully in the usurper’s bloody path. For it is Indris who reluctantly accepts the task of finding a missing man, the only one able to steer the teetering nation towards peace.

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Meet the Author

Mark Barnes was born in September, 1966 in Sydney, Australia. Raised and educated in Sydney, he was a champion swimmer who also played water-polo, soccer, cricket and volleyball. Drawn to the arts at a young age he wrote his first short story at age 7 though was active in drawing, painting, and music as well.

His career stuttered in finance, slid into advertising then leaped into Information Technology where he continues to manage a freelance Organizational Change consultancy. It was not until January 2005, when Mark was selected to attend the Clarion South residential short story workshop, he began to write with a view to making it more than a hobby. Since Clarion South 2005 Mark has published a small number of short stories, worked as a freelance script editor and done creative consultancy for a television series.

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