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The Light of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King Series #1)

The Light of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King Series #1)

4.1 187
by Karen Hancock

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Book 1 of Legends of the Guardian King which follows the life of Abramm Kalladorne in his turbulent search for truth and self—a search that will transform him from a sickly, head-in-the-clouds youth to a legendary hero of strength and courage. Set in a world of swords and cloaks, of glittering palaces and mystical temples, of galley ships and ancient,


Book 1 of Legends of the Guardian King which follows the life of Abramm Kalladorne in his turbulent search for truth and self—a search that will transform him from a sickly, head-in-the-clouds youth to a legendary hero of strength and courage. Set in a world of swords and cloaks, of glittering palaces and mystical temples, of galley ships and ancient, mist-bound cities, his journey illustrates how God pursues and how He uses suffering to mold His children into something greater than was ever thought possible. Written by Karen Hancock, the acclaimed author of Arena.

Editorial Reviews

When he was thirteen, Prince Abramm renounced any claim to the throne of Kiriath and entered holy orders. But at twenty-one, just as he is to end his eight years of preparation by taking his vows, he is kidnapped and sold into slavery by his brother and the high priests of Abramm's own order. With the help of Meridon, the captain of the king's guard who accompanies him into slavery, Abramm not only survives but turns from a weak, bookish prince into a powerful warrior, a good thing because he spends the next two years as a gladiator. As he continues to win in the arena, legends develop around Abramm and Meridon: Could they be the deliverers of whom the prophecies have spoken? Abramm's struggle with his faith keeps him from accepting his own role in the prophecy. He violently rejects the Terstan religion that Meridon practices even as he is drawn to it. The resolution of Abramm's inner battle mirrors the external war between the oppressed masses and their evil rulers. The Terstan religion is a clear proxy for Christianity, and readers who enjoy their sword-and-sorcery with a strong allegorical component might like the exciting fight scenes and the hair-raising escapes. Characterization, however, especially of the two females in the book, could be much stronger. Libraries that include Christian fantasy titles might want this book, although some readers could be put off by the violence, mild sex, and magic that both good and evil characters practice. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2003, Bethany House, 432p., Trade pb.Ages 15 to Adult.
—Rebecca Barnhouse

Product Details

Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
Legends of the Guardian-King Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.38(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The inner cell door squealed as Abdeel and Dumah hurried in with their charges' swords, withheld as always until combat was about to begin. They strapped on the harnesses for both longsword and dagger, gave them grins that were anything but friendly, and hurried out again.
A moment later, the arena doors swung open, and Abramm gasped to see what they revealed. The sand had vanished, replaced by a gleaming gold-and-lapis court from which a long, marbled stair rose to a railed platform. White partitions, some appearing solid, others clearly illusion, rose up here and there around the set. High overhead a massive chandelier depended from a vaulted ceiling that looked for all the world like it must block the view of the spectators at the higher levels, and yet, he knew it did not. It was an illusion, like all the rest. Double-sided, appearing solid from one vantage and as the sheerest veil of gauze from the other.
But he was ready for that, having seen glimpses of the phenomenon in the parade last night. What astonished him was that this set was a near-perfect replica of the king's court at Whitehill.
The courtiers had hurried out when the doors opened, were busy taking up their positions, while Abramm stood entranced. Now he heard his own name blare across the arena, fractured miserably by the Tahg, and the crowd fell silent. With a glance at Trap beside him, he drew a deep breath, straightened his shoulders and stepped into the light.
It was only a moment before the laughter began, and once begun, it escalated quickly. People pointed and slapped each other's backs; they screamed and squealed and howled, doubling over and falling on top of each other in their mirth. Abramm walked with his head high, his back straight, his eyes ahead, as he'd been taught as a child, ignoring them. Taunts flew out of the general melee. "Yelaki Kiriatha! Hashta kermaad!"
He slid into that place of calm detachment, as on the beach at Qarkeshan, thinking what a curious thing it was to be mocked and disdained by people who knew nothing about him. Even more curious that they should do it with such vehemence.
The strains of a popular waltz started up around them. At once the courtiers began to drink and prance and primp, apparently having been coached, or maybe just making it up, for no one Abramm had ever seen at court acted like this.
The girl in yellow met them at the court's "entrance". Her tears had dried, and she avoided their eyes as she guided them up the stairs to the platform where Abramm was to sit on the throne. Another ran up the stair with empty silver goblets, wagged her finger at them, as if they were naughty boys, and hurried away.
The stentorian Taleteller--Abramm could not imagine how he made his voice so loud--launched into his introduction. The Fall of the King of Kiriath, this act was called. With somebody or other as Beltha'adi and somebody else as Beltha'adi's second--not that he would find anything to do today. The joke was received with a surge of laughter and applause.
Abramm was then introduced as playing the role of the King of Kiriath, courtesy of Katahn ul Manus himself. "And in the role of His Majesty's retainer we have the Heathen Shield Trap Meridon, formerly of the Kiriathan Royal Guard. Or so Lord ul Manus claims."
Wrathful, contemptuous screaming greeted this announcement. Pieces of rotten fruit splattered the outer edges of tile, and sailed through the ghost wall that stood between Abramm and the audience on the court's far side.
The courtiers postured and bowed and fluttered, the men directed here and there by the women, tripping and reeling exaggeratedly as they slopped wine down the fronts of their doublets. The crowd laughed contemptuously.
"Drunken and dissipated..." said the Taleteller, as the men grabbed at the women and tore at their gowns. "Indecent and immoral..." The women welcomed the advances with embarrassing writhings. "They are unable to control their lusts, unable to make themselves worthy of any real god's attention. Only the Dying God will have them. Serving such a god, they know not how to fight or die like men, nor will Eidon be able to defend them. They are fit only to be conquered and ruled by their betters!"
The Taleteller's voice rang stridently, igniting the crowd. The roaring, screaming voices filled the arena like a living thing that pulsed and quivered, tearing at ear and heart and belly.
Light bloomed on the far side, illuminating a door in the arena's wall, now trundling open to admit a troop of black-and-gray-garbed soldiers. Amidst them strode one clad and cloaked in gold, a black crescent moon standing atop the crown of his helmet. Impossibly, the crowd's passion rose another notch, screaming Beltha'adi's name.
With a wail the courtiers scurried to a corner of the set, crowding together like frightened hens. As the newcomers reached the main court most of the soldiers stopped near the courtiers and only the substitute Beltha'adi and one other drew their swords. Advancing casually toward the foot of the stair atop which Abramm sat on his throne, they waved to the audience, exchanged jokes with their followers, and barely glanced at their opponents.
Abramm stood up, feeling a strangely familiar rage.
The crowd began to chant. "Yelaki! Yelaki! Dormod anahdi!"
From Abramm's side came the hissing rasp of Meridon's blade as he drew it free of its scabbard. Abramm's hand closed upon the hilt of his own sword, hesitated.
I will touch no weapon of warfare.
Violence feeds the Shadow.
He swallowed. Could he really kill another man? And if he did, was he any better than his opponent?
He watched the men laughing up at him, listened to the crowd, calling for his blood, remembered the Dorsaddi just before him, heart blasted out of his chest. And knew the answers to both questions.
Yes. And Yes.
As he pulled his blades free, something changed within him--his pent-up frustration finally found release. Suddenly he was no longer helpless. Alloying with all he had endured and seen this day, his anger forged a fierce determination to deflate their self-righteous assumptions of superiority.
He glanced at Trap, received a barely perceptible nod, and together they leapt down to meet the two who would challenge them, closing with them in a burst of aggressive parries. The two fell back, made awkward and desperate by surprise.
Abramm's opponent overparried one time too many. Before Abramm even realized what he had done, his own blade had slid under the southlander's weapon and up through the man's ribs. Blood blossomed on the golden tunic as Abramm pulled the blade free. He glimpsed a dark, surprised face as the Esurhite fell to his knees.
Meridon's man sagged to the marble floor an instant afterward, the battle over almost before it had begun.
But even as Abramm drew a shaky breath, hardly daring to believe it was over, a flash of metal caught his eye and he turned, lifting his weapon instinctively, deflecting the blow of one of the soldiers who had spontaneously assumed the role of backups for the first two.
Another was closing from the side, and he felt Meridon step around behind him back to back, as they battled the four who had taken up arms at the fall of their comrades.
Blood pounded in Abramm's ears as he parried, lunged, and ran his opponent through the forearm, drawing a howl of pain as the man's weapon clanged to the marble floor. The disarmed Esurhite flung himself at Abramm with bare hands and Abramm's dagger slipped between the side slits in his armor, just as he had practiced a thousand times. The soldier fell forward, and Abramm jumped back, jerking his weapon free and slamming into Meridon. He twisted left, blocked an incoming thrust with the dagger, and whipped his longblade around, slashing his opponent's arm.
A reddish haze had sprung up around him, blotting out all but the new antagonist in front of him, whom he saw with exquisite clarity--the hate-filled eyes, the clenched teeth, the rivulets of sweat streaming down the dark face. He could hear the Esurhite's breathless muttered curses and could see that the man was caught in the grip of a self-righteous fury that did not allow him to acknowledge that he faced a superior opponent.
Abramm was surprised at the man's sluggishness, at the way he seemed to telegraph his every move and struggled to keep his blade in time with Abramm's. It was a simple matter to parry his slow thrusts, to ignore his awkward feints and pay him for the failure with a stab to the leg, the arm, the waist. The man grew angrier by the moment, and before long he fell for a double feint that left him open to Abramm's killing stroke, in and out in an instant. The wild eyes widened, then rolled back as he toppled to the floor.
It was over. Six southlanders lay dead or wounded on the tile, surrounded by a rapidly dissipating haze. The distant roaring had stopped, replaced by the pitiful cries of the injured. Blood streaked and spattered the tile, and there was far more of it than he'd expected. He felt suddenly cold and weak, a great shudder staggering him.
Then Trap was at his side, gripping his arm, pulling him up and around. When he tried to resist, tried to look back over his shoulder, his friend shook his arm. "You did what you had to do, my lord."
Abramm swallowed, and stared at him, heartsick and bitter. "Is that how you deal with it? Just ignore it?"
"Be thankful it's not you lying on that floor. Because it easily could have been."
His brown eyes bored into Abramm's, bearing the truth deep into his soul. Yes. It was supposed to have been his blood that stained the tiles.
The haze was gone now, and finally he noticed the crowd. Its shocked silence filled the arena with palpable force. He realized then that the man in the golden tunic, the one with the black crescent moon helmet lay among the dead. The portents in that event--coming on the heels of the Dorsaddi's prophesying--struck even him, raising the hairs up the back up his spine.
He stepped back, his gaze falling at last upon his courtiers. To a person, they gaped at him with wonder and outright worship in their eyes.
He looked back at them, wiping the sweat from his upper lip on his sleeve, smearing red paint on the fabric. He was surprised to find himself panting.
Suddenly, to his utter astonishment, each of the courtiers went down on one knee. "Hail Eidon!" they cried. "Hail Abramm, King of Kiriath!"
A rumble arose from the spectators as, in the Broho's box across the ring, a man stood and stretched wide his arms. As the Kiriathan courtiers screamed and cowered, the king's court disappeared, and Abramm found himself standing on packed sand.
The man's chest swelled as he drew breath, then opened his mouth in a bellow that flung forth a gout of violet fire. Abramm toppled backward as it slammed into his sword, sending it sailing through the air to land with Trap's in a twisted, smoking heap on the sand some ten yards away.
At Beltha'adi's side, Katahn had leaped up, jabbering and gesticulating furiously. Already Zamath and the others were rushing in, interposing their bodies between their charges and the box and hurrying them out of the ring.
Katahn met them in the corridor not long afterward, bursting with excitement. "Wonderful!" he crowed. "And that bit with the courtiers at the end? They'll be falling all over themselves to get at you next time."
Shettai, who had trailed in his wake, looked at Abramm as if she'd never seen him before, while Abdeel and Dumah swirled out cloaks with which to enfold them. The chamber throbbed with excited babble as news of the Kiriathans' victory spread....
Until a familiar high-pitched voice cut through it all, producing an instant shocked silence.
Katahn's priest, Master Peig, stood in the aisle, shaven dome gleaming, dark eyes glaring, Regar at his elbow in silent support.
"You must kill them both, Lord Katahn!" the man said again, his voice hard and condemning. It echoed away to silence, every eye in the packed chamber suddenly fixed upon the two men.
Katahn laughed. "Do you have any idea how much money these men will make me in a single season?"
"Greed brought down the Dorsaddi, Katahn." Peig paused, narrowed his eyes. "I told you not to make a warrior of him. I told you this would happen. But you paid no heed, and so your task is harder. I tell you these two carry the mark of destruction. If you do not destroy them, Katahn ul Manus, you will lose everything. Everything."
The silence could not have been more absolute. Even Katahn seemed momentarily taken aback by the intensity of the holy man's warning. For a long horrible moment Abramm feared all his grasping after survival, all he had sacrificed and endured, would come to nothing after all.
Then Katahn smiled. "How many of your prophecies have come true in the last year, Master Peig? Half of them? That's probably too generous. A quarter, then? And if we consider the last handful of years, how many times, then?"
The priest jerked up his chin. "They have all come true, sir, it is only the interpretation--"
"A prophecy is useless if not properly interpreted before its execution, sir. And considering your record, why should I believe that this time you've done it correctly?"
Master Peig ignited in a flaming rage, loosing a volley of words Abramm had no hope of following. When Katahn clearly still resisted, his son Regar jumped in, but he too argued in vain. Finally Peig surrendered with a bitter epithet and strode away. A moment longer the son regarded the father, tight-lipped, clearly distraught. Then he too took his leave.
Katahn watched them go, smirking openly. He made some irreverent comments to his men, then gave orders concerning his slaves' treatment and rewards and departed.
Shettai lingered, her gaze once more on Abramm. Their eyes met for a long fierce moment, as if she searched for something of vital importance, and he thought again of the slain Dorsaddi's earlier prophecy to Beltha'adi. "Even now the Deliverer is coming to slay you."
She turned away, finally, and it seemed to him there was something very like a secret smile upon her lips.

Excerpted from:
The Light of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King, Book 1) by Karen Hancock
Copyright © 2003, Karen Hancock

Meet the Author

Karen Hancock is a graduate of the University of Arizona with bachelor's degrees in Biology and Wildlife Biology. Along with writing, she is a watercolorist. She received a Christy Award for her debut novel, Arena. She and her family reside in Tuscon, Arizona.

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Light Of Eidon 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 187 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Prince Abramm is betrayed by his family, his religious leaders, and (he thinks) by God when he discovers a political plot to murder his brothers and place him on the throne as a puppet king. Sold as a slave and made to fight as a gladiator, Abramm must kill to survive, battling himself as well. His sister, and others are searching for him, but does he want to return? Abramm's portion of the story is pretty good, although his soul-agonizing gets a bit old. I really like his companion's character and found him quite interesting. The love interest is trivial and stupid tho - she really should have been left out or her role needed to be dramatically larger. The same goes for his sister. A large portion of the story follows her journey to locate her brother, but nothing essential to the story-line ever happens with her. You could cut both female characters completely, and the story would be essentially the same. Perhaps the sister's efforts will have significance in the next book. Otherwise an interesting book, but nowhere near as good as Arena. I would give it 3.5 stars.
book_nerdSN More than 1 year ago
When I first checked this book out of my library, I honestly didn't think I'd really enjoy it and maybe even find it boring, but once I started it, I couldn't put it down (even at a football game)!!! I definitely recommend this book! I can't wait to read the rest of the series!!! :D
Lemurr More than 1 year ago
I was looking for a NOOKbook that I own in paperback to compare the experience. I was hoping to find ARENA by Karen Hancock to initiate my NOOk, but this was almost as good. Only a few spacing format issues. The book it's self was as amazing and imaginative as I remembered it.
Quibbler More than 1 year ago
This is definitely a great read for any Christian. The parallels between this series and the Christian faith are great just as long as you don't mind a little fantasy mixed in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Light of Eidon is a story about a prince, who is fifth in line to the throne, decides to take the vows of a monk, but events unfold that force him into slavery to compete in the win or die games of the Gladiators. Scrawny and committed to never picking up a weapon of war, Abramm is not expected to survive the galley ride over there, let alone the games themselves. In an attempt to die with honor, Abramm is determined to do the best he can and prove them all wrong, but he finds that this comes at the sacrifice of his faith. But should he care since Eidon had abandoned him? Karen Hancock doesn't just tell a tale, she takes Abramm on a search for truth. She skillfully creates an unknown world and gives it the history and culture needed to draw the reader into the world she created. Light of Eidon has the heart of JRR Tolkien, the flare of Terry Brooks, the adventure of Tom Clancy, and the sense of destiny of the Star Wars saga. Light of Eidon speaks to anyone who has faced a seemingly hopeless situation, where God feels the universe away, and those who do evil seem to have all the control. Hancock has a fresh approach to the age-old question: 'Where is God when evil prevails?'
GinabugRW More than 1 year ago
The entire series is excellent! Every single book is a page-turner! I truly enjoy the parallels between the internal and external faith struggles of Abramm because I could totally relate! Great read! Going to check out some of the author's other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When you guys were done getting ready and you guys were calling each other pretty and handsome. ^_^
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book!!!! all of the twists and turns kept me on my toes the whole way through!!! the author wrote this amazingly... I felt like I was with the characters in the battles and in the narrow escapes!!!!! definitely a book that I will read again!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one series that is hard to put down! Enjoyed it very much! One that I can read over and over and not tire of!
HelenLC More than 1 year ago
I have just finished the entire Legends of the Guardian-King series and the stories are wonderful. It is easy to see God at work in the lives of the characters. There was nothing I objected to in any of the books. I Highly Recommend these books.
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I really enjoyed this story and the clear picture of the gospel. Excellently wriiten. I can't wait to read more!
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I liked the christian tie in.