Synopsis (From www.bn.com):
Brydon’s quest was simple. Borrow the fabled Gauntlet of Ven-Kerrick, bring it home to prove his worth, marry the princess, and ascend the throne.
He had planned for the dangerous terrain and Redolian assassins, but he did not expect the Gauntlet to be missing, nor to find the Kerrick royal family murdered.
Luckily, his worst enemy was there to help him out.
My first review will be of the fantasy novel, “The Gauntlet Thrown” by Cheryl Dyson. I downloaded for free months ago as an e-book on the Barnes and Noble website though I didn’t get around to reading it until recently. I want to start by saying that this novel far exceeded my expectations. As a freebie I didn’t expect it to be so entertaining and fast-paced. The opening begins with the main character Brydon Redwing, a Falaran on a quest, being awoken by something he can’t identify in the night. When he wakes up he hears nothing unusual but senses something is amiss. He gets out of his makeshift sleeping bag and sets about to make it appear that someone is inside of it still before hiding in the surrounding woods.
His suspicions are confirmed when he sees four Redolians approach the sleeping bag and attempt to slaughter him. But he has the element of surprise on his side and starts let his arrows fly. He kills three of the men. He takes the fourth as his prisoner, in spite of his better judgement, because something in the man’s features reminds him of a good friend who died. Knowing that the man intends to kill Brydon the first chance he gets, Brydon decides to keep a close eye on him while trying to engage him in conversation. He learns that the man’s name is Toryn and not much else because Toryn determines to avoid conversation with enemy at all costs. Though they seem to share some religious beliefs, Toryn regards Brydon as something of a barbarian and is shocked to discover that he actually tried to bury the three other men he killed.
As their journey continues, they are joined by other characters from other countries. One is a wild horsewoman, Alyn, who developes a love-hate relationship with Toryn and their arguments are some funniest and most entertaining portions of the book. When their horses get stolen and Alyn is kidnapped, Brydon finds that not only can he read minds but so can one of the assailants in the ring of thieves. This mysterious man is also able to attack Brydon’s mind through the power they share but Toryn shows up in the nick of time and manages to distract him for a while until he disappears. Unfortunately they find that they are too late to save Alyn unless they continue on to a camp where she will probably be sold as slave.
While interrogating the man’s wounded comrades, they learn that the man’s name is Reed and that his three accomplices, two men and one woman, run a horse stealing ring since horses are rare in their world. (Only one country is supposed to be allowed to raise and breed them.) The woman claims that Reed comes and goes as he pleases and that she only sees him when he wants them.
Eventually, Brydon gives Toryn the chance to return to his people and Toryn declines on the grounds that he doesn’t want to be dishonored back in his home country since he failed in his mission to kill Brydon. Toryn fights with Brydon with an unmistakable sense of loyalty to his new friend even though he is not ready to admit that he considers him one yet. His also refuses to abandon Alyn to the slave traders because he feels responsible for her safety though Brydon suspects that that is only part of the story.
Now although my review of this e-book is mostly positive, there are a few negatives that I have to point out. One is that this story needs a good editor. Words are repeated often in this book and though it does not interfere too much with the flow of the story, it seems a little unprofessional to me. Second, keeping with my theme of only presenting wholesome books, I must point out that there are one or two sexually oriented scenes but they do not last long. The book overall is decent and tells a great story which is why I am still recommending it. Third, in the first chapter, the writer alternates between calling Brydon’s character Brydon or Redwing but states that only Toryn and Brydon are present. This confused me since I thought at first that Brydon and Redwing were two different people. However once I realized that Brydon Redwing was his full name it was much easier for me to focus on the storyline.
As the story climaxes, Brydon is forced to reveal his quest to recover the gauntlet of Ven-Kerrick, an ancient weapon that only the royal family of Ven-Kerrick can wield, and his feelings towards some of the alluring but mysterious women that they encounter. Brydon finds himself involved in a conspiracy of Reed’s making, which he won’t be able to escape from, if he wants to obtain the object of his quest. Meanwhile Toryn becomes a prisoner headed for the temple of Shaitan. Later Brydon is forced to choose between the object of his quest and saving an innocent girl from Reed’s growing power. What will he decide? I am not telling but you can read it for yourself in “The Gauntlet Thrown” and the best part is that you can get this book for free.