Oath of the Brotherhood
by C.E. Laureano
Paperback: 304 pages
Released: April 18, 2014
Source: Advanced Reader Copy ebook from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description from Goodreads:
In a kingdom where the Old Ways hold fast and a man's worth lies entirely in his skill with the sword, Conor Mac Nir is a scholar, a musician, and a follower of the forbidden Balian faith: problematic for any man, but disastrous for the son of the king. When Conor is sent as a hostage to a neighboring kingdom, he never expects to fall in love with the rival king's sister, Aine. Nor does he suspect his gift with the harp (and Aine's ability to heal) touches on the realm of magic.
Then his clan begins a campaign to eliminate all Balians from the isle of Seare, putting his newfound home in peril and entangling him in a plot for control of the island that has been unfolding since long before his birth. Only by committing himself to an ancient warrior brotherhood can Conor discover the part he's meant to play in Seare's future. But is he willing to sacrifice everything--even the woman he loves--to follow the path his God has laid before him?
Oath of the Brotherhood is a Christian fantasy novel. It's the first in a series. It doesn't end with a cliffhanger, but it does end with the main goal (to get the harp) still not accomplished so it felt more serial than stand-alone.
The story wasn't bogged down in world-building detail yet the author still created an interesting culture and overarching conflict. I liked the characters, and I liked that the characters were willing to sacrifice to help others. That's what drew me to heroic fantasy when I was young.
The beginning was intriguing and the ending was exciting, but the middle lacked suspense. Conor received the training that he needed, but this training was largely described in highlight events as the years pass. There wasn't much ongoing conflict during that time, just learning new skills and momentary obstacles. If a problem came up, someone promptly made a noble sacrifice to remove that obstacle for Conor. Still, the story was an enjoyable read.
The Christian allegory was done well, both in not feeling forced into the story and in sound teachings (about trusting God). The Christian values were pretty obvious even though God and Jesus are given different names, but I think the audience is Christians who like heroic fantasy novels. There is magic (like help knowing what needs healing and wards of protection), and it's explained as a gift given by God.
There was no sex or bad language. I'd recommend this novel to Christians who enjoy heroic fantasy.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.