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A Noble’s Quest
Book 1 of the Empire’s Foundation Trilogy
by Ryan Toxopeus

Thomas and Sarentha flee everything they know when Thomas murders a co-worker. In the dead of night, a cloaked noble approaches and offers them a sum of coins they cannot refuse. His sole request is for the pair to retrieve an amethyst from a tomb.

From there, they are introduced to Eliza, a spirited and head-strong noblewoman who proves her competence with her skills in diplomacy and combat. Together with Thomas’ strength and steadfastness, and Sarentha’s drive and inquisitiveness, the trio makes and odd but capable group.

Their adventures take them across the lands of the Tamorran Empire to witness sights they never imagined. With grand plans in motion, everything hinges on Thomas, Sarentha, and Eliza’s success.

Artefacts need to be crafted, alliances need to be formed, and above all, secrets need to be kept. Not even their own allies know every facet of the Noble’s Quest, and he plays a dangerous game by creating plots within plots.

I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of this book at this year’s Kitchener’s Tri-Con. Walking around the tables I was taken in by the cover and talking with Ryan I knew this was a book I couldn’t wait to read. A self-published author Ryan has created a fantastic world full of secrets and heroes. Taken from past Dungeon and Dragon campaigns the book is steeped with traditional epic fantasy traditions. From rough and battle crazed Dwarfts to fair and beautiful elves, gnomes, halflings and dragons, this book does not disappoint.

We start with our two main characters, Thomas and Sarentha – lumberjacks. Poor humans who have no choice but continue to cut down trees for almost no pay in a country where wood is no longer in high demand. Sarentha has dreams of grander, of becoming rich like the nobles, having adventures and going to Tamor – the Empire’s capitol. Thomas is more level minded, head down and does his work as he’s supposed to. Their lives are changed radically when Thomas enters a rage and kills a fellow employee with his axe. The two flee the scene and question their futures.

It is then in the middle of night the two are approached by a cloaked figure. A noble who employees them to acquire an amethyst from a tomb. From there our two average joe’s enter into a wild adventure. After completing their first quest, the noble keeps them in his employ and sends his niece Eliza with them to complete the next round of quests that includes them obtaining more unusual artifacts.

To Sarentha’s enjoyment the group gets to travel all over the Empire, to Tamor, the jungle where the Elves live and even down to the far south. Yet, Thomas is concerned about the purpose of the quests, and dealing with the aftermath of his murder. Along the trip, he is faced with foes and continues murdering those opposing them and their quests. It was refreshing to see a character deal with his actions even if it’s internal. By not wanting to kill, it sets the story up for it’s ending and how Thomas manages to save the Empire with much less death than what could have been.

The story is full of secrets, with a promise of all being revealed when all the artifacts are obtained and forged. And let me tell you – the secret is amazing! I did not see it coming. When the truth was revealed my mouth just dropped!

My only concern was the lead up to the reveal with a battle – more like a revolution – seemed anti-climactic. I guess I was expecting more of an intense and elaborated battle. It didn’t quite work out that way – there were battle scenes, but it seemed to be done within a chapter and a half.

Overall A Noble’s Quest was a fantastic fantasy book that I recommend to all fantasy fans! I can’ wait for the second book (which is already out on amazon and createspace). This will be a series I keep my eye on.