Wednesday, March 14, 2018

"Kingsbane" by T.L. Branson

The pregnant Queen is quite ill and no matter what the healers try, it appears that she may not survive to give birth, and even if she does she will almost certainly not survive the birth of her child. The devastated King cannot bear the thought of losing the woman he loves and consults with every healer and midwife he can find to try and discover a way to save her. Unfortunately, all of them seem to have the same answer... they can do nothing to save her life.

The only possible solution comes in the form of an ancient legend known to one of the King’s personal guardsman; a legend that may be nothing more than a tall tale. But the distraught King will not ignore anything, not even a legend or rumor that might save the life of his beloved wife. He and a handful of his most trusted guards take off that very night on a quest to locate and bring back the soul stones as they are the only possibility left to him to save the life of the Queen.

I’m not really sure how I feel about this novella. It is well-written and well edited, with very few typos that I could notice, but one aspect of the plot left me confused. I understand that King is desperately in love with his wife and cannot stand to be left without her by his side. Unfortunately death during childbirth is often a fact of life in the world that this story is set in. The part that truly bothers me is that the King himself insists on going on this quest. He has no heir to rule while he is gone, only the other council members. He chooses not to inform them in advance that he is going on such a dangerous quest.

It bothers me that a King would leave in such a manner, knowing that not all the nearby kingdoms are likely to ignore the fact that he is no longer around, leaving his kingdom ripe for a possible invasion. No matter how badly he may want to undertake this quest himself, what responsible King would leave his Kingdom in the hands of his council members, no matter how trusted, for an unknown amount of time? While the story was interesting to read, this itself feels like a problem to me. I know he wants to save his wife, but in going on this quest himself he is leaving her to suffer without him nearby to comfort her in any way, knowing that there is a very good possibility that he may never manage to return to her side. Despite my wondering about this plot point, I did find this to be an interesting story.

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