Only a fool crosses a god, but Ellaeva and Lyram will do anything to get what they want.
WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Fall 2016 – Best Book in Fantasy
Chosen as a five-year-old orphan to be the Left Hand of Death, Ellaeva has nothing to call her own—nothing except a desire to avenge her murdered parents. Her duties leave her no time to pursue the man responsible, until both her work and revenge lead to the same place—the lonely castle where Lyram Aharris is serving out his exile for striking his prince.
Lyram is the son of a duke and third in line for the throne. Hell bent on drowning his grief for his murdered wife in a whiskey bottle, Lyram is ill-equipped to deal with the arrival of a mysterious army. When the castle comes under siege, he believes his prince is behind it, only to have his fears dismissed as the paranoia of a grief-stricken drunkard by those closest to him. He dare not even voice aloud his suspicions of the prince’s involvement in his wife’s murder.
Ellaeva’s arrival brings hope, until she reveals she has not come for the siege, but instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the dark god of decay—a necromancer with a personal interest in using Lyram for his own nefarious purposes.
As the siege lengthens, and with the identity of the necromancer unknown, Lyram finds his faith in those closest to him undermined by treachery and sabotage. Not knowing who he can trust, he turns to the one person whose honesty is unimpeachable – the Left Hand of Death herself.
Caught up in their pursuit of vengeance, and desperately trying to save themselves from both political machinations and clashing gods, Ellaeva and Lyram never realise that the greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.
[Dark Epic Fantasy, Castle Siege, Epic Battle]
"Good Ol' Fashioned Fantasy Castle Siege: Strong writing, good world-building with all the terminology and the different gods, conflicted characters, ever-changing plot, intrigue, betrayal, and all the goodies of a good vs. evil battle." ~ Becky
"IN THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD" by Ciara Ballintyne
Evolved Publishing presents the first book in "The Sundered Oath" series of dark, epic fantasies.
Books by Ciara Ballintyne:
- In the Company of the Dead (The Sundered Oath #1)
- On the Edge of Death (The Sundered Oath #2)
- Confronting the Demon (The Seven Circles of Hell #1)
- Stalking the Demon (The Seven Circles of Hell #2)
More Great Fantasy from Evolved Publishing:
- Heir of Thunder by Karissa Laurel
- Shadow Swarm by D. Robert Pease
- The Soulbound Curse by Kira A. McFadden
- The Silver Sphere by Michael Dadich
About the Author
EDITOR: Marissa loves falling into a story and just going along for the ride, but she also loves capturing a story and examining it like a naturalist would, trying to figure out what makes it tick and how it turned out so beautiful. She started out editing National Geographic books, and has been editing full time for over five years now, working on all genres but specializing in science fiction and fantasy. She loves her job more all the time. Being able to help storytellers bring their ideas to life and seeing them grow as artists is incredibly rewarding.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ellaeva is a Battle Priestess and on the hunt for the priest that murdered her parents. But being a priestess means she has to follow the orders of the goddess Ahura, those orders are to save a man that will be greatly needed in the future. Lyram has been banished after striking the prince. He spends his days drinking himself into a stupor over the loss of his wife. Lyram finds his castle under siege and thinks it is because he is third in line for the throne. But it really is a plan to take out both Ellaeva and Lyram at the same time. This is the start of a new epic fantasy story. There are so many things happening to so many people that in true form the story starts out slowly while it builds the world around you. But once you get a feel for this world the pace starts picking up. Until you are rushing headlong to the end with a twist you won’t expect. This is a great story that had me up into the early hours of the night wanting to know what happened next. Both Ellaeva and Lyram are not the snow white, perfect person but are flawed which makes you like them. Both are trying to exact revenge yet have to try and survive the siege first. This is a great start to a new fantasy series and one that I recommend checking out. I can’t wait for the next book in this series. I received In the Company of the Dead from Candid Book Reviews for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
A faint smile curved her lips, though it held no mirth. “Few like me, Lord Aharris. People aren’t fond of those who are prepared to do the hard jobs that they themselves fear to do.” Wasn’t that the cold hard truth? Recriminations abounded after the Siege of Invergahr, with many people telling him what he ought to have done. Easy to offer an opinion afterwards, when they weren’t present at the time. Someone had needed to make the decisions. That someone was him, and there were no good choices. If death came to your front door, dressed in a black robe and as a beautiful man/woman--what would be your first thought? Would you let them in--even if they said that they were there to help you evade death? Would you turn them away, knowing that they would probably be able to get what they came for--regardless of your cooperation? Ballintyne has a riveting book of fantasy, one filled with dragons and goddesses. She fills her readers’ heads with fantasy and danger, leaving entertainment and excitement in its wake. Lyram is the commanding officer of "the castle of angels", which has now fallen victim to siege. He was exiled for striking the prince, leaving the King forced to belay punishment. After his wife was murdered, he makes a promise to find vengeance against the one(s) responsible...but he is not alone. The left hand of Death, Ellaeva comes to assist him--her primarily goal being to keep him alive...and to find out who killed her parents. Coincidentally, a necromancer in allegiance with the god of decay has run amuck and tampered with all of their food, making some very ill and unable to recover. With little food and nowhere to hide, Lyram and Ellaeva must face the oncoming battle that is just at his gates...and within the castle. When all seems to be at the breaking point, what else could possibly cause more strife...other than finding out the person(s) responsible for his wife's death is untouchable without possibly committing treason? What matters more--loyalty to the king or loyalty to your word? Ballintyne has a superb story-line with fantastic character development. All of her characters have such depth that will intrigue the reader and allow them to feel emotions like sympathy and pride. The book is very lengthy, but fast-paced after the initial character introductions. It is also well-written, with little or no errors. If you are a reader of fantasy, science-fiction and/or mythical stories, you may want to add this to your reading list. A free copy was exchanged for an honest review of this fictional piece.
I loved this book! After reading some trashy romance novels for the past several months it was so nice to dive into a good epic fantasy tale. I can't wait to read to the next book. It was a long book, but I really like that. The author took her time building up her world. It was a bit slow for like the first half of the book, I will admit that. Personally though the author managed to keep my attention through that with the introduction of the characters. And oh the characters! No bland, generic characters here. They were so well written. The entire book was well written. I honestly haven't been so drawn into a fantasy novel since I first read the books by Jacqueline Carey. I receieved this book for free in exchange for my honest review and I am so happy that I did. This book had me drawn in right from the first line.
This is a proper epic fantasy. WE are given a great plot, but the most important part is the detail. Like any truly great epic, this book is filled with depth and a detail, to create not only a story, but an entire world. From the start, Ballintyne builds a world round us, with enough detail to really make you feel as though you have stepped into the world. It doesn't stop there. We are also given a cast of characters, who fit the plot, but also fit themselves. They are whole, and created entirely perfect. We are given personalities that match their actions, descriptions so that we can feel as though we are standing next to them and even enough that I truly feel I know the sound of their voice. With a world and story that have been made so real, this book really takes off when the action kicks in. It reminds me of David Eddings' writing. Everything is woven so well that you become part of the story. It is so captivating that you cannot put the book down. I was exceptionally pleased with the pace of the book. It started off slow, to give us all the background I spoke of, but slowly the pace crept up. Then we are hit with the action and given twists and turns that are beautiful. I loved every moment and really feel that the book has ended well to set us up for the second book. Overall, I was impressed and enjoyed reading this book very much. If you are an epic fantasy fan, you are going to need to read this! **I received this book for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite In the Company of the Dead (The Sundered Oath, Book 1) by Ciara Ballintyne opens with a scene in a raucous tavern, where Ellaeva, priestess of the Goddess of Death, Ahura, is getting a crucial lead from her informant regarding her parents’ killer – a Rahmyrrim priest whom she’s been searching for all her life. The information leads her to Caisteal Aingeal an Bhais, the lonely castle where Lyram Aharris, a military genius, is serving out his exile for striking his prince. Ballintyne’s deep characterizations make you feel for the people she’s created, root for their endeavors, and gasp at their tribulations. I gravitated towards Ellaeva instantly, the enigmatic Left Hand of Death. Lyram, on the other hand, is more fathomable, a man left vacant by the death of his wife, but still with enough rage against his enemies. Is he delusional to think that the nobles are conspiring against him and framed him for the murder of his wife? His closest aides seem to think so. It was intriguing and engaging as I followed Ellaeva’s quest to understand her Goddess’s true intention about Lyram while trying to find her parents’ killer. The clash of the gods, political scheming, a castle under siege, and a hidden enemy make the premise solid. The action scenes with the element of magic and spells are vivid and suspenseful. The prose is wonderfully evocative and the plot has good twists and is well-paced; the story doesn’t take too much time to unfold, but doesn’t hurtle too quickly to the end either. In the Company of the Dead is an engrossing read, a good choice for fantasy fans who like a meaty storyline.