In a city built among the bones of a fallen giant, a small group of heroes looks to reclaim their home from the five criminal tyrants who control it.
The city of Audec-Hal sits among the bones of a Titan. For decades it has suffered under the dominance of five tyrants, all with their own agendas. Their infighting is nothing, though, compared to the mysterious “Spark-storms” that alternate between razing the land and bestowing the citizens with wild, unpredictable abilities. It was one of these storms that gave First Sentinel, leader of the revolutionaries known as the Shields of Audec-Hal, power to control the emotional connections between people—a power that cost him the love of his life.
Now, with nothing left to lose, First Sentinel and the Shields are the only resistance against the city’s overlords as they strive to free themselves from the clutches of evil. The only thing they have going for them is that the crime lords are fighting each other as well—that is, until the tyrants agree to a summit that will permanently divide the city and cement their rule of Audec-Hal.
It’s one thing to take a stand against oppression, but with the odds stacked against the Shields, it’s another thing to actually triumph.
In this stunning, original tale of magic and revolution, Michael R. Underwood creates a cityscape that rivals Ambergris and New Crobuzon in its depth and populates it with heroes and villains that will stay with you forever.
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
While Michael Underwood was born in Bloomington, Indiana, he’s made his home everywhere from New York to Oregon and Texas to Brooklyn. Currently residing in Baltimore, Maryland, Michael considers himself a lifelong gamer and geek and also a huge sci-fi fan. He attributes this to working in a game store while in his teens. Michael graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana University in 2005, where he received a bachelor of arts in creative mythology. He holds a master of arts in folklore studies from the University of Oregon, where he wrote his thesis on tabletop role-playing games.
Michael’s passion has always been in teaching, and he has taken any opportunity he can to share his skills with others. He’s so far held classes for everything from web design to the tango and, of course, writing. He attributes his passion for public speaking and theatricality to his parents, who met while performing musical theater together. Michael combines his love of teaching and passion for performance across disciplines, from historical fencing to headlining an Argentine tango band.
He is the author of Geekomancy, Celebromancy, and Shield and Crocus.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'll admit, it was the brilliant world of Audec-Hal that drew me in—Are you kidding me? A city built in the bones of a Titan?—but the engaging story and fully realized characters was what kept the pages turning. Do yourself a favor. Give Shield and Crocus a try.
I was given the opportunity to read an advance reader's copy of "Shield and Crocus," and I jumped on it. His previous novels, "Geekomancy" and "Celebromancy" are two of my favorite books, and I think that "Geekomancy" is the best first novel I've ever read-- in a forty-plus year history of devouring fiction at a rate that often leaves me wishing I were a rich man, just so I could fund my addiction to novels. "Shield and Crocus" surprised me. I went in cold, having no idea what the book was about, but figuring on urban fantasy, like the previous novels I'd read from Mr. Underwood. What I got instead was a surprise-- and a pleasant one. "Shield and Crocus" is a superhero novel set in a high fantasy world, and it is a *blast!* The novel is set in the fantasy city of Audec-Hal, a city built on and incorportaing the bones of a fallen giant-- and a city in desperate straits. Five criminal overlords have taken over the city, each with a different agenda, a different source of power, and a desire to subjugate the many races that dwell in the city. Opposing them are the Shields of Audec-Hal, a group of half a dozen warriors, drawn from the various races that live there, and each with some ability that lets them fight the various shock troops of the five Tyrants of Audec-Hal, supported by a network of ordinary citizens (called Shield Bearers) who aid the Shields as best they can. The novel is a delight, though to took me a bit longer than usual to get into it than Mr. Underwood's novels usually take to grab me. The first couple of chapters are a bit slow, as the author had to work in some world-building (which he is *very* good at) as well as introducing the main characters. But after that, the book becomes a fast-paced novel of rebellion, loaded with interesting characters, alien cultures, and very well-written superhero battles. It's not a perfect book. The opening gets a little bogged down by the world-building (though I say that as someone who reads little high fantasy, so you might want to take it with a grain of salt). There are a couple of characters who don't get as much charcter development as others, and come across more as superhero archetypes than actual characters. The language is a bit heavy at times (again, something that regular readers of high fantasy may not agree with), and on a few occasions felt actually stilted. I personally wanted some more development for the villains. But even with these faults, I loved the heck out of "Shield and Crocus," and recommend to any fans of superheroes, high fantasy, or both. The book felt a lot like "Guardians of the Galaxy: The High Fantasy Edition," and it was well worth the read. I'm giving it an eight on a ten scale, and recommending that you pick it up and let yourself get lost in a superheroic novel of rebellion against tyranny.