Oath of the Brotherhood by C.E. Laureano is an intriguing high fantasy reminiscent of The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan, A Cast of Stone’s by Patrick Carr, The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay and even George Lucas’s Star Wars: A New Hope (without the sci-fi element).
Laureano creates a world that makes you think of Britain or Ireland with its Celtic and Welsh legends. She weaves in a strong thread of Christian faith, even though it cloaked in words like Comdiu (God) and Balus (Savior/Christ). In fact the language is the only thing readers may struggle to understand and pronounce. Laureano, however, provides a dictionary of terms and pronunciations in addition to a map to help her readers follow the story better.
The story begins with an older adolescent named, Conor, who after fostering with another lord of the province, returns home only to find that his father, the king of Tigh, despises him because he has not learned to be a warrior. His father under the influence of a Red Druid, prepares to send Conor to his enemies in Faolan as a peace offering. Conor knows this is not a ‘peace offering’ but more likely political posturing; leaving Conor as a prisoner in the enemies hands. The Red Druid, attempts to influence Conor, but Conor is aware of the druid’s malice and manipulations, even if he cannot defend himself from it. Upon arriving in Faolan, Conor meets the lovely Aine, who has gifts of healing and occasionally visions. Conor’s own gift of music becomes evident and meaningful as his friendship and love for Aine grows. Unfortunately, Conor is a pawn in his father’s game, and torn from Aine, is forced to seek his uncle among the ancient Firein brotherhood. In Firein, secrets are revealed about Conor and he must choose whether to accept the oath of the brotherhood, or leave the brotherhood and fight a war that is working its way across Seare. Friendship, love, betrayal, sacrifice, and loss fill this adventure as Conor matures and realizes that he is being called by something much greater than his father, much greater than the brotherhood, and even greater than his love for Aine…and he knows he must follow. This is book 1 in a trilogy so yes, it does leave you ‘hanging’ and longing for book 2 Beneath the Forsaken City! Entertaining story – Suitable for Teens and Young Adults.
Note to author: I compared your work to several of my favorite male story-tellers, but I do believe you would fit well with the likes of Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, Patricia McKillip, and even your “voice of reason”, Lisa Bergren, who writes the pulse-pounding River of Time series!