ASTER OF SORROWS Justin Call
The Silent Gods - Book 1
Blackstone Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-1982591786
ASIN: B07XJ8DKF3
February 25, 2010
Fantasy Teen/Young Adult

Luquatra, a Different Time and Place

In ancient times three sibling gods ruled. They decided to begin Regaleus, an annual festival to celebrate evil being cast from Luquatra. Keos, the youngest brother, gave his brother, the oldest god, Odar, a silver staff of his own making and his sister Lumea a flute of gold. They gave him only a song. Expecting more, he separated from them. In the present time, Keos is seen as a vile god who uses evil magic, and anyone who is not whole of body is one of his get.

In the land of Luquatra, Annev is an Acolyte of Faith. Acolytes train physically and mentally for testing to become an Avatar of Judgment at the Academy in the hidden community of Chaenbalu. Avatars are sent on journeys throughout Luqatra to find magic-tainted artifacts and bring them back for placement in the Vault of Damnation in the basement levels of the Academy. The Academy is run by Ancients and Masters, and the highest is the Ancient Tosan. Annev is in love with Tosan's daughter Myjun, who is one of the witwomen of the Academy. Witwomen travel to ind and bring back to the Academy abandoned infant boys to become acolytes. Once in the Academy, the boys can never leave. Those young men who fail the test to become Avatars are reduced to stewards who do the Academy's basic work. An Avatar can eventually become a Master or an Ancient.

Annev is on the verge of failing for many reasons. He comes to discover this is mostly because of who he is. Unlike all the other acolytes who live in the Academy, Annev lives with the Priest Sodar, of the community's church where the God Odar is worshipped. Sodar raised Annev who is now the church's deacon. Even more disturbing is what Annev must hide. He is missing his left hand and part of his arm. If anyone at the Academy discovers this, he will be stoned to death as a son of Keos.

The reader will discover Annev is one of a very few honorable and trustworthy young men at the Academy. In this place, friends and allies are hard to find. Most look out for their own interests and some actively work to make sure Annev fails. He will, however, try to achieve any test to become an avatar. MASTER OF SORROWS is a long story (just under 600 pages) but a story full of trials, tribulations, and misadventures, not only for Annev but also for the Academy and for Luquatra. Yet, Annev never gives up even when the unimaginable happens.

Robin Lee