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Saturday, July 10, 2021

 See How I Pieced Together. . .




The Shattered Realm of Ardor Benn

After the impressive ending to The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn, I was itching to see how Tyler Whitesides would keep the story fresh and continue Ardor Benn’s journey.

Suffice to say, I wasn’t disappointed, though the cover blurb barely gives anything away.

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Ardor Benn saved civilization from imminent destruction, but his efforts brought war to the kingdom. It is believed that the rightful rulers have all been assassinated. However, a young heir might have survived.

An ancient organization known as The Realm is behind the chaos, working from the shadows. Under the anonymity of masks, information is distributed sparingly. Ard's been hired to infiltrate them, but he's got competition from an old friend. One who's set to prove she's better than the self-proclaimed 'Ruse Artist Extraordinaire.'

If Ard can't find the heir, then his world may again approach ruin. Stopping the complete and utter collapse of civilization is quickly becoming Ard's specialty.

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Yes, in the aftermath of Ardor Benn’s greatest ever ruse to date, charlatans and cutthroats rush to fill the void left by the death of a king who – for all his failings – had brought a decades-long peace to a land beset by racial pride and religious intolerance. And none are more devious than the Realm, an ancient criminal organization that feels it has a God-given right to control and direct society as they see fit.

Now, if that isn’t a challenge to Ardor Benn’s sense of mischief, then I don’t know what is.

Sure enough, events start spiraling out of control when different factions representing the Realm, the new King, and the Prime Isless, begin trying to influence matters with their own personal agendas in mind. Of course, Ardor Benn gets involved. That’s when things get complicated. Very complicated, very quickly.

And what follows is an immensely enjoyable romp through the visceral underbelly of a civilization on the verge of collapse. Collapse? Ah, there are secrets you don’t know about yet. And as Ardor and his fellow conspirators are drawn deeper into an ever expanding web of lies, the dark history of this marvelous world is uncovered, and yanked up into the light for all to see.

And that’s the great thing about this story. Not only has Tyler Whitesides managed to avoid the ‘second-book-dip’ that plagues so many writers, but he’s blow the story arc out of the water. (literally – you’ll see). As before, this is a thumping big book. Even so, the plot has so many twists and turns, you’ll be wondering what direction you’re heading in. Yet it’s all held together by clever pacing, a great plot, and just the right balance of sparky characters that you’ll end up hating the baddies and rooting for our heroes and heroines right down to the spectacularly climactic end.

Too much fun to miss! I can’t wait to see where Whitesides takes us next.



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