The Crimson Sword: Book One of the Legend of Asahiel

The Crimson Sword: Book One of the Legend of Asahiel

by Eldon Thompson


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The Age of Man has begun. Gone are the elves and dwarves, orcs and trolls, and other creatures of legend. Having driven the "undesirables" from their lands, the kingdoms of the island continent of Pentania have started a new chapter in human history. The gods are a myth, magic is a forsaken art, and the avatars, shepherds of the races, have faded into the mists of time. Now, mankind will rule. But they are not alone.

When the king of Alson is assassinated and the capital besieged by a nefarious wizard, even the remote village of Diln is not immune from the chaos and terror that sweep the realm. Torn from his home, young Jarom begins a dangerous journey to ask for aid against the implacable usurper.

But soon the machinations of a mysterious council lead Jarom to a seemingly preordained quest: to find one of the mythical Swords of Asahiel, the divine talismans used by the elven avatars in the forging of the earth itself. He must do so not only to establish himself as a leader for his people, but to help save a fledgling, quarrelsome mankind. For the Demon Queen Spithaera has awakened from the Abyss, and humanity is about to learn how very powerless it can be against the ancient terrors of the world.

And whether real or imagined, destiny is not so easily claimed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060741501
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/03/2005
Series: Legend of Asahiel Series , #1
Pages: 544
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.25(d)

About the Author

After washing out as a college quarterback, Eldon Thompson returned to his first love, writing. Unfortunately, he's found wrestling plots and characters to be every bit as rough—though with less physical bruising. The author of The Crimson Sword and The Obsidian Key, he splits his time between the Oregon coast and Southern California.

Read an Excerpt

The Crimson Sword

Book One of the Legend of Asahiel
By Eldon Thompson

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Eldon Thompson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060741511

Chapter One

Midnight shadows filled the forest, spectral images born of moonlight filtering through a thicket of gnarled oak and shagbark hickory, of pine and spruce, of ferns and fronds and slithering ivy. Upon the ground, dark profiles weaved and merged, gathered over twigs and needles in a series of dry pools. Once puddled, the darkness shifted in silent ripples, mimicking the languid motion of branches and leaves swaying overhead in a late summer breeze.

At the edge of one such pool, standing just within the sifted radiance of a pale moon, a mouse lifted its head to sniff the scented air. Whiskers wriggled atop its nose, brushing the air with ceaseless anticipation. Its heart beat furiously within its chest. The creature glanced quickly to one side, then the other, then looked back to the small grain seed clutched in its paws. Once, twice, it nibbled experimentally, turning the morsel over, testing it from either end. Finally, it cast the seed aside and reached for another.

A sudden shadow fell over it. The mouse squealed as iron talons pierced its flesh, a sharp squeak of fear and surprise. Before it could draw another breath, its chest collapsed beneath a crushing grip as it was hoisted freeof the earthen floor.

The owl bore its twitching meal skyward, winging its way through a labyrinth of dark trees.

The Shadow watched the owl's flight and remained hidden, eyes and ears probing the darkness. But the attack had been perfect. Almost immediately, the shrill echoes of the mouse's cry were lost to the wind, and what remained of life within the forest went about its business without notice or concern. The Shadow permitted itself a private smile. Perfect.

It detached itself from its concealment then, peeling from the trunk of a nearby birch like a strip of bark. It cast north and south, crouched low, searching for a response to its movement. Detecting none, it resumed course, a shimmer amid the trees. Like the owl, it flew upon wings of death, slipping through the foliage without a whisper to mark its passing. Rodents scurried from its path; trees shuddered in a gust of wind. Made anxious by its ghostly presence, nature recoiled, finding safe quarter from which to watch and wait out the trespasser's foul purpose.

It helped the Shadow to think in such exaggerated terms, to distance even itself from its true identity, to imagine itself a creature of supernatural origin and prowess. It fancied itself a fiend among children, pitiless, as inexorable as death itself.

Unhindered, it slid into a copse at the fringe of the forest. Less than a hundred paces to the south, down a gently sloping hill, loomed a forbidding shape, a wall outlined against the night by the pale wash of moon and stars. The Shadow's gaze swept the wall's surface, a skin ravaged by mosses and ivy and crumbling mortar seams. Despite its weathered appearance, the stone structure towered over the land. A trickle of a moat ringed its base, little more than a stream of sewage headed for the nearby Royal River. Most importantly, only a single sentinel stood watch upon this section of the rampart, one who, amazingly enough, appeared to be dozing while leaning upon his rusted pike.

Without further hesitation, the Shadow dashed from its cover, plunging into the knee-deep prairie grass that carpeted the hillside. It crossed the clearing in a crouch, leapt the putrid stream, and came to rest against the cold stone of the castle wall. With only a slight breeze to mark its passing, it need not have paused to ensure that it had not been spied. But the Shadow wore caution as a soldier would his heavy armor, a coat of arms enmeshed over limbs and joints, impossible to remove without concerted effort, and shed not a moment before the battle was won. Caution shielded against overconfidence, which often led to mistakes. And in a contest such as this, a single mistake could grant passage into death's domain. So the Shadow made none.

An army of crickets chirped in shrill cadence. Farther off, an owl hooted deep within the woods. Nearby, the waters of the moat lapped against their earthen banks. But the Shadow's presence, draped flat against the wall, remained undetected.

Secure in this thought, the Shadow turned to face the unyielding stone, producing a coiled length of slender rope from within its cloak. To one end was fastened a tiny, three-pronged grapnel, its metal hooks wrapped in cloth to help quiet any sound and guard against the reflection of light. With deft movements, the Shadow sent the hook hurtling to the top of the crenellated battlement some ninety feet overhead. The throw was true. A muffled clank echoed upon the wind as the hook swung around a crumbling merlon and bit like a serpent into the resisting stone.

Below, the Shadow waited, a tiny crossbow poised to bury its bolt into the unsuspecting face of any curious sentry. But once again, its caution proved unnecessary, as a sudden snore broke the near silence.

The crossbow vanished, and a pair of daggers appeared. After spinning them in its fingers, the Shadow placed the blades in its mouth. Seizing the threadlike rope, the invader tested its hold before beginning to climb.

The Shadow breezed up the monstrous structure, running skyward along the wall while pulling hand over hand upon the rope. Upon reaching the top, the Shadow swung skillfully between two moss-covered merlons, drew the daggers from its mouth, and buried each to its hilt in the throat of the oblivious guardsman. Slumping to the ground within a shadowed alcove, the sentry fell silently into a sleep from which he would never awake.

Pausing briefly to draw a breath, coil its rope, and retrieve its blades, the Shadow turned and raced along the battlement, down a flight of lichen-covered steps, and into the city below ...


Excerpted from The Crimson Sword by Eldon Thompson Copyright © 2006 by Eldon Thompson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Crimson Sword: Book One of the Legend of Asahiel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
cat8864 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Boringus Bookus:Take 3 cups of cliche characters, add a pinch of magic weapon, a ounce of emotional whiplash and simmer.Mix a demon queen, a sprinkling of her minions and a psycho mage prince in a small bowl and let stand for an hour. Mix together and bring to a boil.Serve with primitive, magic-fearing, cannibal elves.What more can I say? the most interesting thing in the book was the elves, and they hardly got more than a few pages of attention.Somehow, I don't think I'll be finishing this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read epic fantasy to be entertained. this was 4 star entertainmant
Guest More than 1 year ago
This author reels you in with descriptions that make you feel like you're a part of his world then keeps your pulse up with action that just won't stop. This book is a thrill ride!
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Malcom03 More than 1 year ago
I like this book though the author portraits elves as cannibals. I love Tolkien elves and I can't see then as low as he portrait them in this book.
But overall it was a very entertaining book. The story was well done and easy to follow. I like the personality of the characters and the ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eldon is a refreshing new voice in fantasy who weaves a very gripping tale. His talent for description puts the reader right alongside the compelling characters. If you like Salvatore and Jordan and are looking for a story that will not only have you turning pages long into the night, but MOVE you, then this is a must read. It should be on everyone's bookshelf.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have tried three times now to start this book. I simply canNOT get into it. I purchased it because Terry Brooks (I guess) read it and gave it a decent review. But seriously now, did he really read it? Also, was his review supposed to make his fans happy or for this particular upstart author? I know that it is difficult for authors to get a toehold in this business, but my advice, begin a book with a chapter that really captivates the reader, and sucks them in, so that by the time they get to the *yawn* parts, it is still fresh in their memory, and keeps them intrigued, and ready to go through anything to get to the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Crimson Sword was simply amazing. I was able to finish this book quite quickly, It was simply too difficult to put the book down. Though the first chapter starts out fairly slow, I urge you to read this book. It is worth it! The characters captured my heart. I would re-read this book any day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nothing but praise for Eldon Thompson's debut 'The Crimson Sword'. It is an excellent book with intriguing plot-lines and characters. It was so good that I couldn't put it down until I had finished it. Without a doubt, Eldon will emerge as one of the top fantasy authors if he keeps up the good work. With characters like Jarom(A.K.A. Torin) and the evil and devious Shadow I promise that you will like this book(IF you have ANY brains at all).
Guest More than 1 year ago
After an evil king is killed, his long lost heir is catapulted into destiny. Jarom never knew he was a prince, but once he learn that fact, he finds himself on a quest to recover a magical sword that will keep the Queen of Demons from replacing the Age of Man with the Age of Demons. With intrepid companions to help him, the prince fights all manner of evil and monsters to save his world, claim his throne and win his true love. The author uses all the classic imagery that hallmarks this particular genre. Description on a grand scale and able writing almost make up for the shallow characterization.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this some time ago, and my opinion has continually been that this is an awesome book. I would HIGHLY recommend it -- Eldon is an awesome writer, and I hope his success equals his ability.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The island continent of Pentania, in the kingdom of Alson is ruled by King Sorl, a man steeped in debauchery and without a care for his subjects. One day the king is found dead; his son who he had banished for trying to kill him before succeeded this time and has become the new monarch. The new king is also a wizard allied with the forces of darkness............................ The queen travels to the village of Diln and informs Jarom that he is the son she gave up at birth to protect him and let him grow up as a man worthy to rule. When she returns to the castle, the wizard kills her while Jarom and his friend Allion seek help; on the trek, they encounter an Entient (an avatar of the gods who watches out for and guides humanity) who drops a book and before their eyes the writing disappears. Jarome sees a map where THE CRIMSON SWORD is located beneath the buried Elven city. He finds it and becomes the rallying point of those who oppose the Demon Queen who wants to destroy mankind. Jarom fights her minions and her dragon spawn who also wants to see the end of man on earth...................... Although this is book one of the Legend of Asahiel trilogy, it is a stand alone epic fantasy that leaves the audience feeling as if they have completed a thrilling journey. Most if not all the threads are woven together into a colorful tapestry that make up THE CRIMSON SWORD. The characters are well developed and the quest they undertake compares favorably to The Lord of the Rings (can Peter Jackson be far behind?). ....................... Harriet Klausner