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20 June 2011

Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom by Maria E. Schneider

Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom by Maria E. Schneider
Sword and Sorcery meets Agatha Christie: Three novellas introduce the Kingdom of Sage and those who protect its boundaries. Toil, Trouble and Rot: Sage is under attack from a deadly and mysterious enemy. Dungeons and Decay: Find out how far a mother will go when her child is in danger. Call to Arms: Every hand is needed when a ghost invades the kingdom demanding old wrongs be righted.

Let me start off by saying that if you're looking for an epic fantasy about a boy who would grow up to be king or about a journey towards salvation then you will not find it. What you will find here is a wonderful story about a grandmother and her devotion to protect her kingdom and also her family. Yes, that's right a grandmother. Not only is the protagonist a grandmother, she is also a Master Gardener with the ability to communicate with plants.

In the first story, "Toil, Trouble and Rot", Demetria discovers a fungus infection is spreading over the kingdom of Sage. The fungus infection not only damages crops vital to the kingdom's survival, it is also hazardous to humans. Demetria suspects it's one of the kingdom's enemies, the Rats, who are behind this heinous act. She then sets off with her family in search of these perpertrators while using their powers to help Sage defend against the attack.

In "Dungeons and Decay", Demetria receives news that her son Gavin has gone missing and she fears that he has been captured by the Rats and taken to Ratdom. Her husband, Ward, a Dungeon Master with the ability to manipulate stones joins her in her journey to Ratdom to free their son.

In the final tale, "Call to Arms", a forgotten king warns of dangerous beasts from the Slithering Kingdom making camp on the borders of Sage. Demetria and her family sets off to investigate this threat and to put a stop to it.

Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom is an original and refreshing tale in the fantasy genre. It is not overcomplicated by strange magic systems or burdened by an overwhelming cast of characters. I found the characters interesting and likeable, especially Demetria. It is such a simple and fun story that you will find yourself unable to put the book down and must finish reading it in one sitting. Maria E. Schneider has created such a rich world with these three tales and is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages. After reading this book, I feel slightly cheated to learn that there are no more stories set in this world. I can only hope that Schneider will revisit this setting again.

For fans of: Brian Jacques

PS: You can also buy a copy of this book from Smashwords.

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