“I understand you hunt unicorns.”
Prevus shrugged, “I hunt many things.” He didn’t like the feeling the stranger was giving him. The fact someone had taken the time to track him down and knew so much about him put him on the defensive.
The stranger smiled, “Unicorns are a prized commodity to the Minotaur, aren’t they?”
“And to the Centaurs, Elves, and Nymphs.” Something was wrong, something he couldn’t put his finger on but his instincts were screaming at him.
“Very perceptive of you, I like that.” The stranger was doing a good job of keeping his face hidden by his cloak’s hood, too good a job for Prevus’ liking.
“Do I know you, friend?” From what he could see, the man was unarmed but Prevus hadn’t lived as long as he had taking chances. “If not, I think it best if you move along. It’s not very safe around here.”
The man’s head turned towards Minos. “Yes, the Minotaur are rather worked up, but I’m not afraid.” He turned back to face Prevus. “You do know me, just not directly.”
That answer didn’t make Prevus feel any better, but he had no intention of cutting the stranger’s throat. At least not yet. “However I know you, I think it’s fair to warn you that the Minotaur don’t like strangers in their midst. And neither do I.”
For a long moment the stranger sat there, thinking or planning his next action. Prevus watched him as a predator would, with caution but ready to strike at a moment’s notice. The stranger stood slowly so not to cause an attack. “I want you to continue with your hunting per our agreement with one alteration. I need the supply to come directly to Solava Proper.”
Prevus finally recognized him. “That’s easy enough, any reason I need to know of for the change?”
“It’s simple, I changed it. All that you need to be concerned about is supplying me with what I need. Delivering to Lord Erian is no longer possible, or needed.”
Prevus never cared about the why, only the where, when, and pay. After doing some calculations in his head he offered his new contract. “It’s dangerous for me here and dangerous to trust it to a runner. I’ll need a thousand a head.”
The sudden acceptance caught the hunter by surprise, but he had no intention of refusing the deal.“Then it’s a deal.”
Bialois, CP (2012-09-05). The Sword and the Flame: the Purging (Kindle Locations 2572-2595). CP Bialois. Kindle Edition.
Pulling off a successful sequel can be a tricky thing, whether in books or on film. All too often the author/director tries to make the sequel like the original, only with more of what he thinks made the original so good. Usually this formula falls flat on its face and it takes a third book/movie to equal out the disaster of the second. C. P. Bialois’s sequel, The Sword and the Flame: The Purging, is one of those instances where he got it right. The new story feels like a continuation of the original without feeling forced. The author expands on the characters from the original book in a natural way while adding new characters and locations to the mix.
The book picks up within hours of the end of the last books and the heroes are forced to flee the town that was the setting of the first book. When they reach their destination they find that not everything is as it seems and an ancient evil lurks in the shadows. The fate of the group is tied to the young gladiator Bereck, and they all must decide whether to stand by his side or part ways before the coming storm.
The Sword and the Flame: The Purging was a fun read that felt like I was reading the exploits of characters plucked from a Dungeons and Dragons game, and that is not a bad thing. The characters fell into traditional archetypes, but with enough subtle twists to make them unique. The locations had a similar, familiar feel to them, but I felt like they could have been given more attention so that they truly stood out amidst analogous settings within the genre.
I would recommend the book, but I would strongly suggest reading the first book, The Sword and the Flame: The Forging, first. The two are very readable independent of one another, but they could have been combined into one larger book in my opinion.
Buy the book HERE.
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