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Shadows of Kings

Shadows of Kings

4.7 16
by Jack Whitsel
Steel and sorcery clash as the Harhn incursion sweeps through the Hugue. Mankind faces its greatest peril without the Order Knights of legend to defend them. Crusading deep in the frontier, the Order is unaware of the savage beasts threatening their homeland as the Hugue realms muster their armies for war.

Between a cunning Harhn sorcerer, and an alliance forged


Steel and sorcery clash as the Harhn incursion sweeps through the Hugue. Mankind faces its greatest peril without the Order Knights of legend to defend them. Crusading deep in the frontier, the Order is unaware of the savage beasts threatening their homeland as the Hugue realms muster their armies for war.

Between a cunning Harhn sorcerer, and an alliance forged with the decadent Darkfey, the horde threatens to extinguish the domains of men. Only Lord Baudouin and Lady Lucia, a Dragon Maiden from the Order, stand in the enemy's path. One must find the strength to unify the realms. The other must discover the strength within her, while coming to terms with the agendas of her Order. But only together will there be any hope to repel the onslaught, and preserve the future for a mysterious girl they do not know.

Jack Whitsel is a native Californian, but has made Oregon his home since 1982. His favorite genres are fantasy and historical fiction. Shadows of Kings, the first novel of the Dragon Rising Series is the love child born of these two passions. "I love the elements of fantasy when mixed with the gritty aspects of a medieval society."

Product Details

Paladin Timeless Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)


Meet the Author

Jack Whitsel is a native Californian, but has made Oregon his home since 1982. His favorite genres are fantasy and historical fiction. Shadows of Kings, the first novel of the Dragon Rising Series is the love child born of these two passions. "I love the elements of fantasy when mixed with the gritty aspects of a medieval society."

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Shadows of Kings 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Zed1974 More than 1 year ago
A must read book! The characters have substance and the story is compelling. The book is a page turner and difficult to put down!
Will9441 More than 1 year ago
Whitsel has produced a fantastic debut novel with characters you'll fall in love with and others you'll hate with a passion. "Shadows of Kings" has grit Martin would be proud of and magic equal to Sanderson. Once you start it you won't put it down till it's finished. It's this decades fantasy series to beat hands down. I can't wait till the second book comes out!
Beauty_in_Ruins More than 1 year ago
A welcome throwback to the days of high fantasy - complete with idealized medieval communities, kings and queens, monstrous races, dragons, and magic - Shadows of Kings is a rousing adventure that makes the most of its brevity. Coming in at just under 250 pages, Jack Whitsel's tale engages the reader early on and then manages to sustain the interest (not to mention the pace), until the very end. This is a mature tale, one which doesn't shy away from its more adult elements. The violence is graphic (although not gratuitous), with a very real risk losing limbs, heads and lives, and the romances are pragmatic (although not explicit), with marriages of convenience warring silently with mistresses of desire. Jack doesn't necessarily glorify the excesses of men at war, but neither does he shy away from exploring the acts of necessity that often accompany such campaigns. Similarly, the duelling magical systems employed in the tale manage to be innovative and exciting, even while maintaining a semblance of familiarity. Jack doesn't demand that the reader go through any mental gymnastics to grasp how his magic works, but neither does he rely on the reader to fill in the blanks. Whether it's the magic of necromancy or that of dragons, he allows his imagination to run free, filling the story with fantastic moments of magical extravagance. What ultimately makes it all work, however, is the characters to which the magic is attached. They are well-rounded and dynamic, drawing the reader in and forcing us to choose sides, even if we may not be entirely comfortable with the potential for betrayal. In terms of the narrative, I will admit that the tendency to change perspectives within the same scene bothered me, but once I got used to it, I settled in fine. There are several viewpoint characters to the story, on both sides of the war, and they all get their chance to shine. Fortunately, Jack doesn't allow us to get too far inside their heads, maintaining the suspense needed to drive the central mystery that underlies the story. The twists work well when they come, presenting the reader with some genuine surprises while, in hindsight, being entirely justified. A refreshing addition to the genre, we can only hope Shadows of Kings will be followed by the second book of the Dragon Rising soon.
QueentuttsWorld More than 1 year ago
Creative & Visually Graphic - Adult Fantasy at its best! Wow, what an exciting memorable read, my mind's endorphin's are still receiving electrical aftershocks of visionary snapshots from this amazing read. This fist installment is definitely Adult Fantasy at its best. The world building is creatively written with sorcerers / necromancer, Dragon maidens / viscountess (sorceress), the witches, the dark-elf's, Knights, and lowborn peasants surviving in a medieval world whim of political stature and en battlement over territorial ownership to include magical dragon power between humans and the dark-elf's. The story and it's plot is visually graphic with a continuous battle where Knights along with their lowborn peasants fight to save their lands from the evil madness of the dark-fey and mad sorcerers. The fights are brutal with gory details of be-headings, entail gutting, and carnage that may turn your stomach. I have to say my favorite scene was the river hags as they literally grab the Knights and chomp them in half as if they were eating a stick of celery. There are many reasons for giving this book a 5 star review. The scenes are memorable as they capture the connection between each character to make them more real world like and believable. The reader gets to experience the Knight's friendship between their fighting comrades, the teasing and humorous bantering with each other, and understand their closeness and why they follow each other into battle time after time defending their honor so proudly. The reader witnesses the change of the nobility going from stuck up-better than thou to appreciation and more understanding of their lowborn peasants especially after the lowborn has proven themselves worthy while in battle. In battle we always hear about the spoils of war and the loneliness the soldiers go through when away from their homes and family. This is where the sexual rating comes from. Nobility males such as the Knights usually have mistresses in other parts of their home territories and as in this story the reader is introduced to a Knight's passion that is tastefully described. This is where the author gets and emotional attachment between the reader and character. Hence is also where I find myself falling for a favorite character "Sir Knight Baudouin"-the man is heavenly divine and had me melting. However sweetly it may be to read about the passion of the Knight while he is taking his break, healing, taking pleasure, and resting before he goes back into battle, at the same time in another village where the enemy has captured many, the women are brutally raped and savaged by the evil leaders before they are disposed of. The author's graphic detail of one rape is brilliantly written as it captures a real life situation in a time of war. Hence this is where the reader's emotion finds hatred towards the wicked witch "Rizela" and her uncle "Prince Nazar". All of the above is awesome to read about but what stands out for this fantasy read is the magic and power used. The scenes are exciting and the writing is addicting as you get a sense of empowerment from the character when they destroy a creature in a war. One of my favorite parts of this story is while the viscountess "Lucia" uses her power to shield the necromancer "Narvauth" while he does an incantation to help the Knights battle the evil and hideous creatures. The necromancer can be a good wicked evil sorcerer and sometimes you have to use evil to fight evil and when he cast his incantation drawing the dead from the ground to help fight the enemy it was an exciting and glorifying thrill that kept me glued to the pages. Only fantasy geeks would understand what I am talking about, it's like saying "take that you punk". Ok so I get wrapped up in the story - LOL Overall - Excellent Read, I wanted more in the end and I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I highly recommend this story for all ADULT Fantasy lovers.
SKingAZ More than 1 year ago
Shadows of Kings is an outstanding read that had me capitivated from the moment I opened the cover. A perfect blend of fantasy and medieval with the characters, both good and evil, commanding my full attention throughout. My only disappointment was coming to the last page of this first installment of the Dragon Rising series leaving we wanting and waiting for the next book. For any fan of fantasy, I highly recommend this book. Outstanding job Jack! Look forward to the next installment.
LITERALADDICTION_MLO More than 1 year ago
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson: It's been awhile since I settled in for a good high fantasy novel, and this was definitely a good one. Shadows of Kings is a fabulously written first installment to the DRAGON RISING series with engaging characters, non-stop action, and heart. The world created by Jack is solidly built and commands attention - the best and worst of medieval times brought to life on the page. Shadows of Kings gives us dragons, elves, sorcerers and sorceresses, bestial villains, gallant knights, kings, queens, and lowborn with purpose. The plot starts solid with the Hugue fighting for their lives and their land against the Horde with the help of the Knights of the Order and the Dragon Maidens. It builds to an amazing crescendo as the sole survivor of one of the magickal families, Lucia, works with some veteran knights (Baudoin and his group) and some newly proven allies (Gui - I love Gui!) against the Horde and the Dark Elves to salvage what they can and protect whom they must. There's plenty of treachery, backstabbing, torture, surprise, magic, mayhem, and even a little romance along the way, and it ends in such a way that the reader cannot help but want the next installment as soon as possible. I found myself struggling a bit at the beginning though. There are A LOT of characters and sects revealed and it was a little hard to keep things straight right up front. Once I got all of the names, territories, and leaders down though, I couldn't put it down. LITERAL ADDICTION gives Shadows of Kings 4 Skulls and would recommend it to fans of the genre. I think we've found a new up and comer in the fantasy realm and I can't wait to see what Jack brings us next.
gesualdosinger More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this one. It was fast paced with great character development. I am really looking forward to seeing the next installment.
brimag More than 1 year ago
Shadows of Kings is an exciting fantasy story filled with fighting, magic, elves, dragons, and other creatures. The story grabs you from page one and just keeps pulling you right along. There are a lot of characters and multiple points of view so you get to see the war from all sides. I thought the characters were well-written because I sympathized with some and hated others. With the bloody battles and other realities of war, this book won't be for all readers, though fantasy lovers will enjoy it. This is a complete story, yet there are enough unanswered questions to tantalize you into reading the next book in the Dragon Rising Series. I know I will.
VampireVixen More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Dragon Rising Series and a great read it is. At the beginning the story dragged just a bit and I was having trouble getting into it; but it eventually took off and it was full of action. This is a wonderful fantasy read and lovers of fantasy are sure to be pleased. The story is packed full of adventure, sorcery, witchcraft, fey, dragons, and other creatures. I have to admit I was having some difficulty keeping up with all the characters and all the different names of places in the story. I really think it would have benefited from having a map and a glossary of terms, places, and such in order to keep track of everything. Even with this issue for me, I was able to get through the story without much difficulty. Our protagonist Lucia, was a spoiled rich girl who was difficult to love in the beginning. As the story continues, she grows and develops into a most extraordinary young woman. Lord Boudouin faces many challenges and realizes one of his major mistakes by the end of the book. I, like other women, would have liked to have seen more of a romance between him and his mistress. This is the romantic talking in me. To much blood and guts in the story for this. The story is quite descriptive and you have no doubt what is happening during battle. It is not for the faint of heart. I will definitely be watching for the next book in the series, Shades of Virtues due out in the spring of 2013. If you enjoy a good fantasy read, check this one out. Disclosure: I was provided a copy for reading and reviewing purposes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great fantasy book and especially enjoyable for people like me who only dabble in fantasy. It has the creative elements of a Tolkien world with the more human, gritty and medieval elements of a George R.R. Martin book. You'd never think this is the author's first novel. The writing is refreshingly fluid, the character development is fantastic and the storyline picks up speed at a perfect rate. It ends just as you're completely engaged and leaves you anxious for the next installment!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Hugue are under attack by the unpredictable Harhn horde who have ventured for the first time in 50 years from their home in Vol Thaldane in great numbers and are decimating everything in their path.  The Darkfey in this book are nothing like the ones in fairy tales, brutal and vicious they take great pleasure in torture and killing. The brave knights of the Hugue fight valiantly despite the odds against a innumerable enemy, death seems to be a hairs breath away and betrayal and secret agendas are rife within their ranks. Their only hope lies with the mysterious Order Knights who are conspicuously absent from the battle and the Dragon Maids, followers of the Great Dragon Shyrdasa who centuries ago bestowed on them the secrets of draconic sorcery. Shadows of Kings is a gritty epic fantasy filled with sorcery both good and evil, this book takes you on a wild rampage that has you on the edge of your seat. Surprisingly, my favourite part of the book was the battle scenes between the Hugue and the Harhn as they are amazingly tense and descriptive. The book is well written and the characters are engaging especially Lucia who I didn't like in the beginning, but after her abduction she shows immense growth of character that really had me warming to her. I look forward to the next book in the Dragon Rising series and hope we don't have too long to wait.
Beverly_Stowe More than 1 year ago
Do you enjoy knights with flashing swords and fair maidens with a touch of sorcery? Are stories containing battle scenes aided by magic your favorite reads? If you answered yes to the above, you’ll want to read Jack Whitsel’s debut novel, SHADOWS OF KINGS, where he gives you both and much more, such as good guys and bad guys and surprises, as well. Written from different point of view characters. SHADOWS OF KINGS takes the reader on a journey right along with the knights and lowborns as they fight for survival against the beasts waging war on the domains of Man. Let me warn you now, the battle scenes are bloody and very descriptive and not for the squeamish. The language too might make you blush. It did me, but then I‘m used to reading novels for children and young adults. There also are a lot of characters to keep up with, and I sometimes was confused. The author develops the major characters so well, however, that you care about them and want them to succeed in their quests. When one of them is wounded or dies in battle, you’ll mourn for them and wish they had survived. I really liked Lucia, who, even with her sorcery, was also vulnerable, letting me feel her pain and her emotions, making her more real to me. But as in all good stories, even science fiction and fantasy, good people and people we care about die. We morn them and then move on. The addition of magic and spells makes the author’s story more than simply an adventure tale like so many others. They add mystery and fantasy along with suspense. SHADOWS OF KINGS is a nice debut novel. The good news is the book is the first in a series, so you can look forward to more from Author Jack Whitsel. ###
drmaryMF More than 1 year ago
This book is riveting and sets the imagination on fire. One is brought into a battle that every page turned has you desiring to see where it will lead. The characters reach out and draw you in. I do not have a lot of free time but I look forward to the sequel. If heart pounding intrique is what you want, this is the book . Enjoy your journey to the realm of Shadow of the Kings
Kissablysweet1MC More than 1 year ago
Lucia is sixteen years old and about to become a Viscountess. In the space of a few hours she will lose both of her parents and be helping to protect the knights who fight for the kingdom. Lucia is about to be tested in many ways. She will learn things she never knew along the way and they will help to strengthen her. Lucia will also question the Dragon Order and the very way in which they are supposed to protect the helpless. Many kings and knights will lose their lives to the Harhn and the dark powers of the Elves. Traitors will be exposed and heroes will walk where lowborn serfs use to be. The question is can they hold out long enough to protect Lucia and the little girl? Both are equally important to the Dragon Order. They have a little something extra in their genetics that makes them very special. One man will become King and recognize the young daughter he was never sure about. They will all grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally. This is one of the greatest books of its kind. Filled with sorcery, magic, both good and bad and a chance to set things right in the Hugue, this book takes you on an adventure you'll never forget. Well written with clearly defined characters, Jack Whitsel gives us a book we can get lost in and learn from. I loved the growth of Lucia that even she didn't expect. The battles are emblazoned with the most entrancing descriptions. You can smell the foul stench and feel the hits with axes and swords. I enjoyed this book immensely. I found only one minor issue.. *smile* I'd like to have seen a bit more of a love story between Lorrette and Baudouin. I gave this one 5 out of 5 books and hope you'll get your copy today!
MayrasSecretBookcase More than 1 year ago
Two centuries ago, the Temple Initiates made up the Order of the Dragon, named after the Great Dragon Shyrdasa that once lived within Dragon Park. Legend told that a group of knights once helped the Dragon and her unborn young. As a reward for their valor, the Dragon awarded them secret knowledge, martial powers and magic. The Dragon also chose women throughout the Hugue to serve as Dragon Maidens, bestowing upon them secrets of draconic sorcery… Now, for the people of the Hugue, the fall season would have normally been the time of the Harvest Festival…but fruits of their work are now in danger of being destroyed. For the first time in 50 years, the Harhn, savage beasts, are arriving in terrifying numbers from Vol Theldane to wage war upon the domains of Mankind. The Hugue, not ready for war, are caught by surprise. A brave soldier named Baudouin and Lucia, a young Dragon Maiden, are the keys to saving mankind. And at the core of it all, lies a mysterious girl they must find… What a great start for a series! Shadows of Kings is an excellently written, impressive first novel that will be savored by fans of fantasy. Author Jack Whitsel has created a vivid, intricately-woven medieval world filled with sword and sorcery, fair maidens with mystifying powers, evil fey with dark appetites, villains readers will love to hate and heroes to fall in love with. My only complain is that there’s no romance in the story. I would have loved to see Baudouin as a romantic hero as opposed to just a hero. What can I say? I’m a romantic. This being a first novel, I’m impressed at how the author created all the characters—and there are many. I especially enjoyed the character of Lucia. I thought the scenes of her capture were quite realistic and compelling. There’s a lot of action in the story and the fight scenes are detailed without being overly graphic. In short, this is an engrossing fantasy novel for fans of the genre. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! Read this book upon the suggestion of a friend, because this is normally not my reading genre. Slower at first, but this is true of most good reads , and then Whitsel hooked me. I’m such a romanticist and the need for struggle to be gripping. I get the heroism of men in battle balanced by the mystique and sorcery of female protagonists and antagonists. It all comes together and makes me want to read more. I can’t wait for the next book to come out.