This Academy Award-winning filmmaker and writer delivers "enough magic, romance, weaponry, battles, plot twists, and complexity to appease even the most discerning LOTR fans..." (Foreword Reviews) A thousand years ago, the Navigator possessed thirteen stones touched by Oum’ilah, the God of gods. Over time, these powerful stones of light were scattered and a prophecy arose declaring that a “child of no man” would gather them again, and he would be given immortality and reign forever as god and king of Kandelaar.
Now, in an age of chaos, the time has come for the prophecy to be fulfilled. Light and darkness have each chosen a champion to claim the legendary stones:
The sorceress of the cult of she-dragon has chosen Drakkor, a warrior and mercenary who travels with bandits and a corrupt stone of darkness.
The Oracle of Oum’ilah has placed his faith in Ashar, a young postulant who is unsure the stones of light even exist.
Meanwhile, miles away, a slave named Ereon Qhuin dreams of freedom. Abandoned at birth, his only possession is a strange stone that he believes is the key to his destiny and freedom.
A mercenary, a postulant, and a slave—which one is truly the child of prophecy? Who will wear the immortal crown?
About the Author
Kieth Merrill is an Academy Award director for his film The Great American Cowboy. Kieth and his wife, Dagney, live in Northern California.
Read an Excerpt
"Is it some distance?" Borklore asked as he scanned the tumult of stone walls rising on both sides of the narrow gorge where the woman had taken them. It had been more than an hour since they found the beaten woman in the road. She rode beside him on a gray courser flecked with brown. "I ran in the dark until I had no breath and could take the pain of my feet no more. I hid in the wood and waited for the dawn." She looked at him and held his eyes. "I hope I shall find a way to show my gratitude to you and your men." "A marvelous coincidence," Borklore flushed and tried to hear her thoughts. "Clearly, the gods intended for us to gather these brigand bastards." He touched his forehead. "Pray forgive me, m'lady, for assaulting your gracious ears." "Wait!" she said and reined in her horse. Borklore stopped the column. "There!" She pointed to a large boulder that had fallen from the walls of the canyon. It had split open, and the crack looked like the profile of a human face. "I think . . ." she began, then listening to something no one else could hear, she raised a finger to her lips. It was impossible for a hundred men and horses to be silent, but the hum of chatter and rattling of equipment quieted until the hooves of restless horses on rock was all that was left. The woman slipped from the saddle and walked forward. The spare boots were big for her feet and made a slapping sound when she walked. She motioned for the captain to follow. An officer started to dismount, but Borklore stopped him and followed the woman himself. The canyon narrowed and turned sharply right. A small stream ran against the wall. They waded in knee-deep water for a hundred steps before she stopped and pointed to a wider spot half a stone's throw ahead. "Where did they leave the wagons?" Borklore whispered. "We had no wagons," the woman said. Borklore furrowed his brow. "You said they put the woman and children in wagons and . . ." "Did I?" she said and jutted her chin. She took a few steps forward. A shiver of inexplicable dread sliced through the captain like a blade of ice. He turned at the muffled rattling behind him. Four men blocked the passage. They wore iron and leather, rusted and scuffed. Their helms were mismatched and plumeless. Each stood with an arrow nocked and a bow fully drawn. At such close range the sharpened spikes of steel would penetrate Borklore's chest plate, but the arrows were pointed at his face. One of the bowmen sniggered. When he whirled around in surprise and confusion, the woman was facing him. She reached a hand beneath black wool and as she pulled it back out an eruption of air wracked his body and clouded his mind as if it were siphoning away his very essence. He fell on the rocks and splashed backward through the water on his hands and feet like a crab trying to escape a giant gull. He stared in terror as a strange gray light retreated into the small black stone the woman held in her hand. The dirty light was sucked into the stone like a rush of foam into a whirlpool. What was happening? Borklore rolled over and scrambled to his feet, looking for the archers. They stood motionless as if nothing had happened. He kept his hand a deliberate distance from the hilt of his sword. He had no defense. He whirled again toward the woman. She was gone! No. She had changed. Transformed in the mist of the strange gray light to a man with the skin the color of rusted iron. His face was shaven and scarred. Drakkor closed his fist around the stone of translucent black crystal and slipped it back into its place of hiding. The stone possessed an even greater magic that he'd been told. Magic? Was the power of the pyrophilus a force from the soul of the universe itself, or from the powers of darkness from the underworld? It mattered not to him. In the years he wandered the North, he had gradually learned its secrets. Quite by chance, he discovered the stone had the power to fool men's eyes and twist their minds. It demanded an intense focusing of consciousness, but over time he had mastered the skill. He could change the perception of anyone who looked upon him. By possessing the stone, he could compel those who looked at him to see him only as he wished to be seen. Drakkor's breastplate protected his muscular chest and flat stomach. The pauldrons on his shoulders and buckles were tarnished brass. His cloak was the color of blood and flowed in the slightest breeze as though he could fly. As the light gathered, he was joined on either side by fierce men with iron breastplates, iron helms, and two-handed great swords. "By the gods, what manner of evil is before me?" The captain heaved out breath from exertion and shock. Drakkor held the man's eyes, his smile cold. His spiders had told him about Borklore. A man of such nobility would do anything to avenge a woman violated by villainous rogues. "What is evil to one is a blessing to another." The captain stiffened. "I command you, in the name of the king, to surrender your weapons and stand aside." A whisper of amusement rippled among Drakkor's men. "Ah, the tavern gossip is true." Drakkor raised an eyebrow and recited the disparaging adage. "The courage of a kingsrider is only surpassed by his arrogance, and his arrogance only by his ignorance."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great beginning to an epic story of two different people, both good and evil, trying to be the answer to an age old prophecy. Nice depth of the main four characters. Looking forward to the second book!
I love finding a good epic fantasy series to really dig into. The Immortal Crown has a lot of the elements I love to see. We start out with a prophecy - one that's changed over the years and over the miles. We even start with a hint of dragons. Eventually we follow several potential prophecy fulfillers as they journey into new parts of their life - from adventure to first tastes of freedom to potential love. There are sooo many characters, but each story seems to entwine itself in the overall storyline in an easy and memorable way. I didn't once have a problem remembering who was doing what and where they were in the journey. Some of the characters and lore were a little expected - the girl who prefers pants and is surprisingly good at swords, the ancient people who left a forgotten legacy, but it was done with just enough of a twist or with a little bit extra that it really made the characters stand out. I would have liked a tad more excitement. There are a few great moments, but I feel like I missed a bit of the "sword" in the "sword & sorcery" book. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
Why, oh why do I keep requesting sweeping epics? I know I will be confused, I know I will hate all of the description used but yet I still persist in wanting to read them. The Immortal Crown by Kieth Merrill is a true grand tale. Full of intrigue, hidden identities, plotting and magic, it covers all of the necessary bases. So was I confused? Yup. Did I like it? Yup? Will I read the next while cursing the fact that again I picked a super complicated book? Yup. The plot of The Immortal Crown was an immense conglomeration of people, places and things. Essentially there are three main plots circling around the central idea. There is a prophecy of an immortal king rising to power in the land of Kandelarr. The king will be the child on no man and there are three options offered up. Drakkor a dark warrior, Ashar a young man in training to be a religious leader and Qhuin a slave with no past. The writing of Kieth Merrill matched the epicness of the story. Nuanced and deep, I really enjoyed it. The pacing did have some issues where there were large time jumps and it took me a bit to catch up, but it did not hamper my enjoyment. The world built was massive. There was a grand scale of locations and so much detail. I was a little bogged down with the details as I always find epics to be a bit too heavy-handed but it still worked for me. There were a plethora of emotions in this read. Deceit, longing, loss and hope abounded. There were many many characters. I was confused by who some people were and where they fit in, but once I found Qhuin’s story line I had my point of reference for everyone else. Kieth Merrill crafted an immense world in The Immortal Crown that really did suck me in. Once I got down the three main factions I was able to navigate the story a little better than when I started. In particular, the story arc of the slave Qhuin was fantastic. I could read an entire book just on him and his journey (hint, hint). I will continue to read the Saga of Kings series knowing I will be confused and frustrated, but also knowing that I will enjoy the entire ride. Original review @ 125Pages.com I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.