Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Stretch of Loyalty (The Loyalty Trilogy)

Title: A Stretch of Loyalty

Series: The Loyalty Trilogy (Book #1)

Year: 2013

Author: Jack Lewis Baillot

Summary: Prince Lachlan's only crime is that he is the youngest son of the king, a selfish man who took what he wanted no matter the cost. Now Lachlan's life is in danger because his father's last law was that the last of his sons left living will be the new king.

Lachlan's half brothers are determined to get rid of him first before they work on killing each other, but their plans are foiled when Lachlan is saved by a young girl named Magda. Knowing Lachlan would make a better king then any of his brothers, Magda flees into the wild, hoping to find help and safety for the boy in one of the neighboring kingdoms. Instead, all Magda finds is rejection.

But help might be closer then she thinks, and it comes in the form of a grumpy, one handed hermit, an elf with a sense of humor, and two dwarf brothers. Together, they might have a chance to save the boy - but what price do you pay to keep a stranger alive? Just how far are they willing to go to make sure he is kept safe? (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Magda Kalmyk
~ Stefan Haulier
~ Prince Lachlan
~ Ennion
~ Golon
~ Cordon
~ Prince Igor

Review: You know that feeling when you find a book that you're certain is going to be wonderful, and then when you finally get to read it, it's even more amazing than you hoped? That's how it was with A Stretch of Loyalty. The author, Jack, is a friend of mine, and from the snippets and character posts she's done on her blog, I knew I was going to like this story. Of course, I didn't realize *how* much I was going to enjoy it. I am so ready to dive into book two, A Test of Loyalty!

The story starts off with a bang - the king dies and pretty much tells his sons to get rid of each other so that the last one of them living will be the next king. And of course, the three eldest immediately decide to get rid of their youngest brother first: little seven-year old Lachlan. Magda, the daughter of a local seamstress, is recruited to save him, and the whole adventure tumbles down from there. It's a twisting, wild ride from page one that keeps you in suspense of the next chapter. 

The characters were astonishingly so untypical of a usual fantasy. Magda is a seamstress who has practically no fighting skills whatsoever; Stefan is a grumpy, one handed hermit with a bundle of secrets; even Lachlan is no usual fantasy prince - a fact that I was greatly appreciative of. Ennion was an epic character, and although his race (the elves) reminded me muchly of Tolkien's descriptions of elves, he had enough personality to draw him completely out of the stereotype that J.R.R. Tolkien created. For anyone who loves LOTR and Narnia, or just a good, clean adventure story (with no magic - I might add), A Stretch of Loyalty is the perfect book. I don't think I could recommend it enough. Since this is a self-published novel, there are a few typos and grammatical errors, yet they don't detract from the awesomeness of the story.

And can I just say, I loved the title. How far *can* loyalty stretch? The friendships forged in this book were some of my favorite in any novel I've read in a long time. A true, caring friendship that faces storms together and battles through them. All around epic, and definitely deserving 5 stars. And now that I've finished the book, I'm on my way to hand it over to my brother who, having picked it up when I first got it read a few chapters to himself and really enjoyed it, gets to read it next.

Advisory: The only thing that bothered me in this story was something concerning King Garolds. He had four sons, and each child had a different mother. However, the matter is very discreetly handled, and always shown in a bad light. There's also some fantasy action and fighting, as the travelers meet a lake monster, giants, and other creatures, but it's exciting and not graphic.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.*

Click here to buy A Stretch of Loyalty on Amazon!

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