In book two of the Realm Walkers Series, Cantor, Bixby, and Dukmee must band together to find the storied realm walker Chomountain after the devastating attack by the corrupt Realm Walkers Guild. But what they discover while traveling turns their mission upside down and they must now find a way to restore Chomountain.
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Two Renegade Realms
By Donita K. Paul
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2015 Donita K. Paul
All rights reserved.
On his stomach, with his arms above his head, Cantor D'Ahma twisted his large frame and forced his broad shoulders along the narrow passage. A light globe rattled within his wire-cage hat. The bobbling motion sent light and shadow flickering across rough rock walls.
"You coming?" The dragon's voice echoed a bit as it traveled the length of the tunnel.
"Sure." He grunted. "As soon as I wiggle through this rock wormhole you've lured me into." He made little effort to keep the annoyance out of his voice. How, after three years, he was still plagued by Bridger's bumbling ineptitude and ridiculous expectations, only Primen knew.
Cantor's voice rumbled low in his chest and then rolled down the passageway with a heavy resonance. "You'd better have measured these gaps properly, or you'll be off to find miners to chip me out."
"You haven't grown any more this month, have you?" Bridger asked. "You should be able to make it if your circumference isn't any larger than it was two weeks ago."
"I thought we decided I wasn't growing so rapidly now."
"We, the brains, decided that. I don't know about you, the body." Bridger's voice echoed enough to make Cantor concentrate. With effort, he deciphered the words rolling over each other.
"Yeah, well, this tunnel is a bit snug." Cantor latched onto niches in the wall with his outstretched hands and toed the rough surface behind him. With another grunt, he heaved himself forward an inch. The next shove was more successful, and the one after that broke him free of his wedged position. He squirmed onward until the tunnel opened into a cave.
With a hearty sigh, he rose up on his elbows and surveyed the open space, noting the low ceiling.
He'd seen cabins bigger than this cave. And he'd seen prettier caves. No layered colors of sedimentary rocks striped the walls, no crystals, no unusual geological formations. Just a hollow expansion of the natural tunnels he and Bridger were exploring.
In the middle of this ordinary stone room, his mor dragon sat on a colorful, cushy chair, conveniently provided by his own shape-shifted wings and tail. Bridger liked his comforts. Jesha, the dragon's cat, curled at his feet, slumbering.
With barely a glance at the incongruous scene, Cantor elbowed farther into the cavern, swung his long legs around, and sat up. He eyed the uninspiring room. "I'm beginning to think we've got the wrong mountain."
The dragon nodded, looking thoughtful and wise. Cantor almost rolled his eyes. Bridger could be legitimately thoughtful, but wise only happened by chance.
"Could be we are in the wrong mountain. But do you really want to go back to that council library on Derson? Three weeks reading through dusty tomes is enough for me. Plus, the place was creepy. I always thought someone was watching us."
A small shudder ran over Cantor. They'd spent those weeks oscillating between spikes of fear whenever someone seemed close to identifying them and the mind-numbing boredom of searching through ancient texts for anything that could help them find the Library of Lyme. The King of Richra insisted that this ancient library be found, and supposedly, the only way to find it was to delve through libraries that were merely old, not ancient. It had been the last of a series of similar stops as the pair sought to avert the disaster that would occur when Lyme Major and Lyme Minor intersected their planar stack.
"In my opinion," Bridger continued, "it's a waste of time to try to find another likely hidden place for the oar-REE-ree." He paused, licking his lips and wrinkling his nose as he attempted to pronounce the tongue-twisting word. "Oarry-ree, no, or-erree. Another likely place for its library to be hidden."
Cantor cleared his throat and pronounced the word slowly in its parts and then as normally spoken. "OAR-rare-ree. Orrery."
Bridger nodded. "Yes, that. And the library that explains it." He picked up Jesha and stroked her soft and colorful fur. "We kind of like these dry tunnels and caves. But you want us to go back to that dusty, smelly, spooky dungeon-like place with council spies probably lurking among the book stacks?"
Cantor dug into his pocket and pulled out a flat hamper. "No, I'd rather eat." He thrust his hand into the sagging sack, thinking about sausages, and pulled out a foot-and-a-half-long salami. He tried to think of what other foodstuffs he had stored in this convenient access to another dimension.
"Ah," said the dragon. As he sprang up, his body transformed to his normal shape. "It's always good to eat." He carried the cat with him and sat down beside Cantor. "But perhaps your increased appetite means you aren't finished growing after all."
Cantor handed a loaf of bread to the dragon, then reached into the long, flat bag again. He groaned as he drew out a large hunk of very yellow cheese.
Bridger smacked his lips and took the cheese as well. "I thought you liked this cheddar."
Cantor looked up at the dragon and quirked an eyebrow. Jesha's nose quivered at the scent of one of her favorite foods.
"You groaned," Bridger said.
"That was for the growing. In the last two years, I've gained fifteen inches in height. From five foot six to six foot nine. My feet are colossal. If my chest were made out of wood, I'd button my shirts over a barrel. And my voice sounds as if I'm deep inside that barrel."
"Your singing has improved nicely," Bridger pointed out. A mouthful of bread did nothing to deter his speaking.
"My singing was all right the way it was. I'm a cantor."
"Not officially. You're named Cantor, but you don't hold a position in the sanctuary."
Cantor shrugged, took a swig from his flagon, corked it, and took an enormous bite out of a second loaf of bread from the hamper. He then put a saucer down and filled it from a small bottle of milk. Jesha jumped down to lap at the creamy liquid as Cantor put the bottle back into the hamper.
Cantor gestured to the cave around them. "We've seen no sign of life. No writing on the walls. No implements left behind. Nothing to say, 'Hey! People have been here before you.'"
Bridger cocked his head and held up one digit. He whispered, "Did you hear that?"
Cantor closed his eyes and concentrated, fine-tuning his gift of enhanced hearing. "No."
The dragon shrugged. "I don't hear it now either."
"What was it?"
Before Bridger could answer, his eyes opened wider. "There it is again. That sound."
Cantor heard it as well, a scrape of something hard against another hard surface. At the next noise—a human voice, a female human voice—he stood up.
The low ceiling. He'd forgotten. Eyes watering, he squatted and rubbed the crown of his head, glad he hadn't hollered and given away their presence to the owners of the mysterious voices.
Still rubbing his tender scalp, he pointed to the second of the tunnels in the walls of the cave. "That way."
Bridger stuffed the remainder of his bread and cheese into his mouth and approached the entrance of a tunnel they had yet to explore. He nodded, and around the wad of half-chewed snack, he said, "I hear two voices—one man and one woman."
Cantor puzzled over this new development. Wisdom demanded a look at the situation before allowing this man and woman to know they had company. He spoke softly. "I can't make out what they're saying, can you?"
Bridger shook his head. "There's too much echoing in and out of all the tunnels and caves."
"That may deceive us as to where the voices originate." Cantor slapped the dragon on his scaly shoulder. "Let's go explore."
Bridger ducked into the tunnel.
Cantor cupped his hand to his mouth. "Psst."
Cantor debated only a moment. An extra measure of caution would be prudent. He placed a general hedge around himself and the dragon, hoping the less complicated maneuver would not alert an enemy of their presence. "Be sure to measure accurately. I'm beginning to think you shift to a smaller size without realizing what you're doing."
"I am always aware of what I'm doing."
Cantor snorted but said nothing. Bridger didn't readily acknowledge the blunders he made, but Cantor had many anecdotes of the dragon's fumbling from their travels. Still, Cantor liked him enough to not want to humiliate him.
In spite of the difficulty discerning which tunnel was filled with echoes and which might lead to the talking people, they pushed onward, at times stooping or crawling, at others walking upright through long and twisting stone corridors.
Bridger stopped abruptly as he reached a turn in the tunnel ahead. Cantor barreled into him, tripping over his tail and landing in a tight spot between the dragon's hind leg and the stone wall.
Without seeming to notice Cantor's predicament, Bridger whispered over his shoulder, "They're in the next chamber. The walls are lined with bookshelves."
"The library? We've found it?" Cantor eased back, removing himself from his uncomfortable position. "Can you see the people?"
"No ... Yes!" Bridger's lips stretched into a grin, his sharp teeth creating a bizarre picture of gruesome gladness. He jumped forward, out of the tunnel. "Dukmee! Bixby!"
Cantor's heart expanded, and a smile forced its way to his mouth. Bixby! He hadn't seen the little realm walker for two years. The smile fell away as quickly as it had appeared. Why was Bixby traveling with Dukmee?CHAPTER 2
He heard nothing from the mage Dukmee, but Bixby's cry of delight spurred him through the last section of the tunnel. Following the dragon into the spacious library, Cantor found his friend the same as she had been: tiny, disheveled, fluttery, and beautiful. He quickly made a point of studying his surroundings rather than allowing his gaze to remain too long on the girl.
Glow-orbs studded the room's high ceiling, and cascades of powerful miniature lights decorated the walls from ceiling to floor at intervals around the room. Massive bookshelves lined the outer walls of the room, and freestanding counterparts stood in a haphazard formation around the center. Unlike many of the libraries he and Bridger had delved into, this collection showed no particular dedication to order. Few shelves contained neatly aligned books side by side. Stacks and fallen piles plus small statues and metal twisted into odd sculptures, stuffed every possible ledge. Two massive tables with a dozen wooden chairs dominated one side of the room. Dukmee and Bixby stood there with scrolls, maps, and ledgers spread out before them.
Cantor's eyes skidded over Bixby. She stood too close to the mage. He looked away, studying the spacious room. So this was the ancient Library of Lyme. Here they would find answers to the questions about the renegade planes, the most important being a precise date the trouble would begin. Cantor peered closely at the shelves and alcoves. Where was the orrery?
Bixby's lilting voice interrupted his perusal of the ancient library.
"Bridger, who have you brought with you? Introduce your new friend."
"New friend?" Puzzlement creased the dragon's forehead. "Not new. This is my constant, still Cantor D'Ahma. You didn't think I would forsake him, Bixby? I never would."
Countering the sincerity in the dragon's voice, Cantor laughed. His chortle, deep in his throat, sounded like a frog in a well. No, Bridger would not desert him even when Cantor wanted him to.
Bixby's eyes widened. "Cantor?"
He saw the astonishment on her face and tried not to turn red with embarrassment. He knew she found the change in him disturbing. He wasn't comfortable with this outlandish growth spurt either—not that he would admit it.
Assuming an air of nonchalance, he grinned as he advanced over the smoothed rock floor. "It's me. Two years older than the last time we were together."
"In my parents' palace." Her eyes searched his face, no doubt looking for the lanky adolescent she'd known. Her head was nodding. A tiny rush of pleasure gushed through him. Good. She hadn't forgotten.
He looked at her whitish-blonde hair. The feather-light, lustrous mop topped her small frame like dandelion fuzz. Her outrageous outfit included a dozen layered skirts and dresses, ruffles, lace, and elaborate embroidery, all in shades of brewed tea. "You look just the same."
She laughed, the rippling sound floating around the cave, passing through tunnels and coming back on itself in merry echoes. "Is that my cue to say, 'Well, that can't be said of you'?" She grabbed his wrists in her tiny hands and gave them a shake. Hitching her head back to look up at him, she flashed him a smile, and her eyes twinkled. "What happened to you?"
"Cantor." Bridger motioned him to come to where the dragon stood with the mage. "They're looking for the same information we are. And they found the or—thingamabobby."
Dukmee reached out to clasp arms with Cantor in the traditional greeting of realm walkers. Two years ago, Cantor had been a head shorter than Dukmee. But now the long, lean healer-scholar-realm walker-mage looked up at Cantor.
Dukmee grinned. "I've heard a lot about your exploits."
Bixby hurried to a position beside the two men. She peered up at them, impatience at being left out clear on her face. "I haven't heard anything. What exploits?"
Cantor broke the grasp with Dukmee and turned a little to include her. "Nothing much. Bridger and I have been looking for Ahma and Odem. We've made meticulous searches and discreet inquiries in every realm on every plane in our planeary system. And we failed." He heaved a sigh. "And now your parents have assigned us with the task of finding—" He gestured with an open hand. "What you have already found. Which reminds me ... your father sends a reprimand. He wants you to send in reports. And your mother complains that she doesn't hear from you. Letters, lots of letters, are her request."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I do forget." Bixby gave her head a shake, sending her white-blonde curls into a frenzy. Her expression changed from annoyance to compassion. She reached up to touch Cantor's arm. "I can't imagine the loss of ones so dear."
He liked the feel of her small, comforting hand. But when he looked in her eyes, he saw emotion, and he didn't want to deal with emotion just now. Nevertheless, he felt the frustration rise at his own failures, not to mention the feelings of inadequacy and loneliness he'd cooped up in the same unwanted burden box. Ahma would have counseled him to throw the thing out. Sometimes it was difficult to trash a concept. Cleaning stable stalls was harder on the back, but easier than clearing negative thoughts from the mind.
Frowning, he shook off her hand and took a step back. Dwelling on his failure wasted time and distracted from this mission. He would not let Bixby lure him into such a quagmire.
Bridger lifted his head from examining an old, faded map on discolored parchment. "We still believe Ahma and Odem are alive. We haven't looked for them inside any mountains." He waved his arm around, indicating the cavern. "I bet there are lots of these little hidey-holes around in places we've already been."
A tiny spark of hope flickered in Cantor's heart. "Once we figure out this mess with the renegade planes, we'll look into it."
"Literally." Bridger grinned.
Dukmee laughed, then his face turned somber. "What rumors brought you here?"
All at once the weight of the Lyme prediction fell onto Cantor's heart. As long as no Library of Lyme was found, he could believe that the doomsayers had no ground on which to stand. Now that he was in the very library he'd hoped did not exist, he had to give credence to the rest of the tales.
Reluctantly he related how they'd been lured into investigating the Lyme phenomenon. "Bixby's father related a string of unsettling happenings. Old folklore has been reborn. The Lyme Wars were a legend from an era so long ago that they were mostly forgotten. But men of dubious backgrounds began mumbling about the day approaching when the path of Lyme Major and Lyme Minor would once again intersect our orbit. At first I thought it was some council plot to demoralize the populace."
Bridger perked his ears. "Considering the source of the rumors, that was an understandable conclusion. The council may not be the same as it was, but we've seen evidence that it still promotes discord."
Cantor nodded his agreement. Every once in a while, Bridger sounded like a dragon raised in a proper home, which he was. Proper in that he and his sister were educated, primed with cultural advantages, and expected to become worthwhile citizens. Other times he sounded like he'd missed the point of all that quality background.
Cantor brought his thoughts back to his story. "Then more reliable storytellers began reciting obscure tales of the Lyme Wars. Of course, charlatans latched on to the growing rumor. To them, it was another opportunity to make money. Charm makers, soothsayers, and dealers of amulets sprang up in the marketplaces."
Excerpted from Two Renegade Realms by Donita K. Paul. Copyright © 2015 Donita K. Paul. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I like it better than the first book. The story grows, there is more adventure to be had, and the characters are fun to get to know.
Well written! A very engaging read, with fun, in-depth characters.
Starting age: Twelve Positive Elements: Bixby is determined to be the best she can for Primen; Bridger will let nothing stop him in his search for his sister; Bixby and Cantor use self-control when dealing with difficult individuals; Cantor grows more accepting of Bridger; faith and trust in Primen is encouraged. Cons: Cantor, at times, is demeaning to Bridger. Violence: A guard is beaten and left for dead; a woman is drugged; a secondary character gets cut with a knife; mor dragons are kidnapped and drugged; some mor dragons obtain injuries while fighting a beast; a man gets walloped on the head with a bottle of bath oil; invaders are mentioned destroying all in their paths and eating human babies (nothing graphic). Spiritual Content: Primen is the equivalent of God; Bixby and Cantor pray to Primen; Chomountain is described as the right hand of Primen who advocates and is an intercessor between Primen and the people. Other: Cantor kisses Bixby, as does Dukmee. Rating: 5 Stars Conclusion: Once again, Donika K. Paul masterfully weaves an epic tale that will keep you (quite literally) on the edge of your seat. Her imperfect characters are relatable and fun, and I couldn’t help but love Bridger. If you are looking for a story to sweep you into a world of adventure, treachery, danger, and friendship, Two Renegade Realms is the book for you.
I wish that the third book hadnt been recalled so that i could finish the story
“Two Renegade Realms” is the second book in the Realm Walkers series by Donita K. Paul. It continues the story of Cantor and Bixby, along with Dukmee and Cantor’s dragon constant, Bridger. Three years have passed since the events from the first book, and the companions are now on a mission to locate the fabled Chomountain after they learn that he might still be alive, just imprisoned somewhere. Time is of the essence since they are also trying to prevent their realm from being invaded, despite the fact that they had been close to success previously. With twists and turns, Ms. Paul has once again weaved a story that readers of all ages would immensely enjoy! I’ve read almost all of Ms. Paul’s other books, and I am a huge fan of her story-telling. This novel fit with what I was expecting and I am looking forward to any other book that she writes, as well as hoping that she continues the Realm Walkers series since I can’t wait to find out what happens next! I would definitely recommend this book to all of my friends, especially those who enjoy fantasy fiction. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I liked DOnita's previous book series Dragons of CHirl, and Dragon keeper chronicles, but this series lacks something that the others had.I guess it is the fact that their is lack of charecter development that they knew nearly everything from the get go and that it is portrayed as such, well besides everything that has to do with what they are doing. Still I think it could have been written better. Still a good book
Two Renegade Realms by Donita K. Paul is the second book in the Realm Walkers series. This second book was a better written and more enjoyable story than the first one. It wasn't as kiddish to me. I hated how it ended, though! I'm going to have to wait how long for the third book?! lol Joking aside, it did end pretty decently. It tied up everything from the story and only kept us hanging just enough to want the next one in the series. ;-) It's been two years since the last book, and Cantor has been off on adventures ever since. With no success at finding Ahma and Odem, he feels inadequate and insecure in his realm walker role. Then he is sent on a mission to find Bixby and Dukmee. Once he locates them, he finds it slow going to save the world from the Lymen Invasion when multiple distractions and missions keep coming up. Will they be able to figure out the mysteries surrounding the invasion? And what about Ahma and Odem? Where have they been for the last three years? Cantor is my favorite character in the book. There is more to him than meets the eye, and I can't wait to hear more about him in the next book. Cantor keeps trying to fight his attraction to Bixby because he fears it will distract him from the Lymen invasion. But poor Bixby is the one who gets hurt in the process. Bridger, the dragon, is as funny and silly as ever, but I do wish Cantor would accept him already! They've been together for three years! Isn't it time for the temper tantrum to be over now... lol Dukmee still irritates me because his brilliance makes him come off as arrogant and aloof. Chomountain is an interesting addition to the story. He's a much more likable character compared to Dukmee, but I am confused by him. I think he's supposed to be kind of like an Elijah in the story, but I'm not sure. It wasn't explained well at all. Cantor, Bridger, and Bixby continue to be my favorite characters, and I can't wait to see how their story will come together in the end. Overall, it's a fun, enjoyable read. :-) I was given this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.
This book is a fantasy and is about several Realm Walkers. A Realm Walker has the ability to travel through portals to other realms. It is discovered that there is going to be an attack by two renegade relams. Cantor and his constant, a dragon names Bridger, along with Bixby and Dukemee, two other Realm Walkers, set out to look for Chomountain, who will be able to help them stop the attack. When they find Chomountain, he doesn't know who he is, due to a spell that has been placed on him. The others are amazed at his powers once he realizes that he is Chomountain. The group splits up to find more dragons to help in their quest. They find the dragons have been captured and drugged to keep them from escaping. Once they free the dragons, they travel on to find more Realm Walkers. They discover that there are many other realm walkers who have been captured, as well. Once they are all freed, they set out to figure out how to stop the invasion. Chomountain is able to look ahead in time and see how they are invaded and is able to figure out the best way to stop the invasion. The Realm Walkers and dragons prepare to attack the invaders before they land and are able to prevent an attack from ever taking place. There was some back story at the beginning and it was not always easy to make sense of it. There were some enjoyable parts to the story and seeing how the Realm Walkers cared for each other was nice. I would recommend this book to older teens/young adults who are interested in fantasy. (reviewed by T.Lyles) DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of this book was received from the publisher.
Two Renegade Realms (Realm Walkers #2) by Donita K. Paul Two Renegade Realms takes place two years after One Realm Beyond. Cantor, Bixby, and Dukmee are on a quest to find the legendary, Chomountain, and save the realm from an impending attack. I enjoyed how the characters developed both mentally and physically since the previous book; especially Cantor who seemed to have undergone the most changes. I still appreciate his relationship between him and his dragon Bridger. They have an amusing connection that keeps growing and retains the reader interest. Bridger is such a goof you cannot help but love him. There was a stretch I felt dragged a little but overall the plot was carefully thought out and original. Towards the end of the novel, it had a more science fiction feel. Donita K. Paul is an exceptional writer. She has a talent for visualization, symbolism, and creativity. Two Renegade Realms is a fun book for a young adult or adult. It in an imaginative read with Christian values and beliefs. This is a book that I would encourage my eleven-year-old son and his friends to read. I also think the series would make great movies. Complimentary copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Like many others, I was eagerly awaiting the release of Donita K. Paul’s new book, Two Renegade Realms. Once again I found myself following the adventures of Cantor, Bixby, and Dukmee in their exotic world consisting of flat, pancake-like realms instead of round planets. Three years have elapsed since the end of the last book. One particular delight was to see Cantor beginning to see the value of his loyal shape-shifting dragon friend Bridger. I also get a kick out of the notion of a dragon keeping a cat as a pet. Much of the story in this book centers around the search for and rescue of “Chomountain,” who is the right hand of “Primen,” the name for God in this realm. The reader is kept guessing for some time about what is actually going on--which is just as it should be. I had to read the book in bits and pieces and I found that I was thinking and speculating about the story when I wasn’t reading it. Without giving too much away, I do want to also mention that this story deals with two very different evil attacks. One is the actual, physical attack by the two renegade realms. The other attack is much more subtle and hard to recognize, but in a way just as damaging and just as big a challenge to defeat. The story ends without a full resolution, but that is to be expected since there is another book yet to come. Like all great young adult literature, this story can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages, up to and including a middle-aged adult like myself. Now the wait begins for the final installment of this imaginative story. Note: This book is the middle book in a planned trilogy, so if you haven’t read the first book, One Realm Beyond, you should read that first. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
As I had not read the previous novel, ONE REALM BEYOND, I had to do a little bit of research in order to get some background. Thank you to all the people who reviewed the first book on Amazon, especially Emileigh, who gave me a first-rate introduction to the characters! Having said that, TWO RENEGADE REALMS is easily a stand-alone novel, and the writing style – excuse me, the STORY-TELLING style of author Donita K. Paul – captures the entire person from the first page. One does not merely read about the events that are occurring on the pages; one becomes a member of the party, and is standing alongside Cantor, and Bixby, and all the rest as they struggle to find the answer to their various quests – and questions. In TWO RENEGADE REALMS, the Cantor party is tasked with finding the famed realm walker Chomomountain, and free him from his imprisonment. Instead, they find themselves joining in his predicament. It will take all of their gifts and abilities, as well as the grace of Primen (a cognomen, in this series, for the One True God) to succeed. I must confess to having read enough to write a review on this book, as said review is already long overdue. How much did I read, you may ask? Probably 10 pages, at best. What are my intentions? I’m going to FINISH THIS BOOK!!! The writing style, the creativity that the author brings to this work, and the desire to bring glory to God, and God alone, are evident enough, and more than enough, to enable me to write this review in this fashion. My most humble apologies to the author and Zondervan for the tardiness of this review. 5 stars for a fantasy that brings one closer to Him