He can save her life—if he sacrifices those he swore to protect.
King's bastard Shianan Becknam buries himself in his military career to avoid the dangers of drawing political attention. When the artifact intended to end an interdimensional war is damaged, a mage is trapped on the other side of the rift with her servant—only the cheery young boy is really one of the monstrous enemy, disguised as a human. Shianan is desperate to rescue Ariana, one of his few friends, but to do so requires committing treason and betraying his people to attack.
State mage Ariana struggles to survive as a prisoner of war in a world of deadly magic and unfamiliar customs. Her only ally is her former servant, once again a renowned warrior caught up in political machinations. To survive, he'll have to take up the fight against Ariana's world.
As their people's wasted armies prepare for fresh battle, bastard, mage, and monster must set aside prejudices and rivalries to find an end to centuries of conflict, before they die as traitors.
Book 1 in a new epic fantasy series The Shard of Elan.
This new epic fantasy series by an award-winning author is recommended for fans of Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks.
Baugh (The Songweaver's Vow) hits the ground running in the satisfying, high-stakes fantasy that opens the Shard of Elan series. The human city of Alham is under threat from the Ryuven, winged, magic-wielding creatures. Shianan Becknam, a commander in the King's army; Lady Ariana Hazelrig, a mage; and her servant, Tam, are tasked with retrieving the Shard of Elan, a magical object that will form a shield around Alham, sealing it off from the Ryuven realm and preventing further attacks. The trio successfully secure the shard, but in the process Shianan unwittingly lets in an enemy who dismantles the shield. Ariana and Tam are almost crushed by the collapsing barrier and are forced to escape into the Ryuven world, where Tam reveals himself to be a high-ranking Ryuven in disguise. As Shianan works to free them, Ariana learns to survive the Ryuven realm. Baugh keeps the pages turning with tightly plotted action sequences and taut suspense. Her multidimensional characters make consistently believable choices, though the romantic subplots are a bit half-baked. Still, high fantasy fans will find plenty to enjoy in this fast-paced adventure. (Self-published)