In Alorin...three hundred years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centuries past earned him a traitor's brand. It is the Adept Vestal Raine D'Lacourte's mission to learn what Bjorn knows in the hope of salvaging his race. But first he'll have to find him...
In the kingdom of Dannym...the young Prince Ean val Lorian faces a tenuous future as the last living heir to the coveted Eagle Throne. When his blood-brother is slain during a failed assassination, Ean embarks on a desperate hunt for the man responsible. Yet his advisors have their own agendas, and his quest for vengeance leads him ever deeper into a sinuous plot masterminded by a mysterious and powerful man, the one they call First Lord...
In the Nadori desert...tormented by the missing pieces of his life, a soldier named Trell heads off to uncover the truth of his shadowed past. But when disaster places him in the debt of Wildlings sworn to the First Lord, Trell begins to suspect a deadlier, darker secret motivating them.
My thoughts: Cephrael's Hand is the first novel in McPhail's A Pattern and Shadow of Light series and this story starts the series off with a bang. This is a huge novel (I'm talking more than 600 pages) filled with a wide cast of characters in different realms of existance. At the beginning of the book there is a map and a huge dictionary full of new words and blurbs about many characters you will need to know to follow along in the book. Cephrael's Hand is a dream novel for Fantasy fans, it's a long, well thought out story of Lord of the Ring's proportions and only the beginning of the journey. I would recommend setting aside a while to read this one though, since it is super long. I did have a bit of trouble getting into the story at the beginning, but with so much to cover in one novel it is not surprising that it started off on the slow side to me. It soon picked up the pace and was pretty easy to get into after a while. Fantasy is a genre I only dabble in reading from time to time, but I thought this was quite an ambitious and well thought out first novel from McPhail.
About the author: Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid fantasy reader. A long-time student of philosophy, she is passionate about the Fantasy genre because of it's inherit philisophical expolrations. Ms. McPhail lives in the pacific northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats. Cephrael's Hand is the multiple award-winning first novel in her series A Pattern of Shadow and Light
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*Disclosure- I was provided a free e-copy of this novel via Innovative Online Book Tours for the purpose of rendering this review. I was not required to writer a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.