"Part Game of Thrones, part superhero epic, Blood of an Exile is a cinematic fantasy whirlwind" Sebastien de Castell
“A page-turning, action-packed tale full of memorable characters, set within a world full of dragons . . . It doesn't get much cooler than this" John Gwynne
"Exciting, epic and wonderfully told, full of subtle humour and laugh laugh-out-loud lines" Angus Watson
"A fast, fun fantasy full of dragons and traitors, humor and bloody action." Django Wexler
"A page-turning, edge-of-your-seat read that breathes new (fiery) life into dragon mythology." Kirkus
"Bershad is both cantankerously funny and endearingly human." Library Journal
Naslund's stellar debut novel—and first installment in his Dragons of Terra saga—revolves around an exciting new fantasy hero who, exiled and essentially sentenced to death as a dragonslayer, is finding it increasingly difficult to die.
Silas Bershad, aka the Flawless Bershad, is a legend throughout the kingdoms of Terra. Accused by the king of Almira of committing horrific crimes and ritualistically tattooed as an outcast thereafter, Bershad has wandered the countryside with his sidekick, Rowan, and his trusty donkey hunting dragons for the last 14 years. While most sentenced to dragonslaying die battling their first beast, Bershad has killed 66 dragons and has become an unkillable folk hero of sorts. His miserable nomadic existence changes, however, when he agrees—at the behest of Ashlyn, the king's daughter and his former lover,—to embark on a perilous mission: to sail across the sea to the enemy nation of Balaria to rescue the king's other daughter, Kira, who has been kidnapped, and assassinate the emperor. But although the journey is filled with constant peril, Bershad begins to finally understand himself and his place in the world. Discoveries abound, particularly concerning his body's strange penchant for healing seemingly deadly wounds. Featuring a multiple point-of-view narrative that includes a rich diversity of characters—Bershad, Princess Ashlyn, an assassin named Garret, an apprentice alchemist named Jolan, among others—many aspects of this story are noteworthy. The worldbuilding, for example, is simply extraordinary. The dichotomy between the primitive realm of Almira and the technologically advanced kingdom of Balaria is striking, and the author's focus on dragons and their deep, almost mystical connection to the world's balance and well-being give the story a profound undertone. The characters are well developed and original, and the bombshell revelations at novel's end are immensely satisfying. A few predictable subplots notwithstanding, Naslund succeeds in creating a page-turning, edge-of-your-seat read that breathes new (fiery) life into dragon mythology.
Top-notch adventure fantasy—a stand-up-and-applaud debut.
DEBUT Flawless Bershad the dragon fighter is known throughout Terra for his ruthless skill and infamous fall from grace. Princess Ashlyn summons Bershad to the capital of Almira to rescue her sister, who was kidnapped by rival kingdom Balaria. His other secret mission is to assassinate the Balarian emperor, who plans to corner the profitable dragon oil market by killing all the dragons of Terra as they come to breed in Balaria. Ashlyn believes that dragons are the key to balance in Terra, preventing both famine and plague. She sends Bershad, who has noticed changes in himself after his time spent with dragons, with his trusted shield, a dangerous widow, a thief, and a donkey on a quest to save all of Terra. The dynamic characters and divided kingdoms of Terra leave a lot of space for this series to grow. Bershad is both cantankerously funny and endearingly human. The environmental impact of dragon extinction adds a new dimension to the expected swordplay and political intrigue. VERDICT Strongly recommended for devoted fantasy readers and a great gateway book for those new to the genre.—Catherine Lantz, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lib.