The Shard: Chronicles of Xax
by Ted Cross
by Ted Cross
A dying king. A mysterious invader. The seer's vision was clear: find the lost shard from the Spire of Peace or the realm would drown in blood.
The problem: eight hundred years ago the elven hero Kathkalan took the shard with him into the lair of the most vicious dragon ever known to mankind...and he never returned.
Reluctantly drafted to lead the quest is the minor noble Midas, torn between his duty to the realm and the desire to protect his sons. With an unlikely band of heroes, including two elderly rangers and a young tinker's son, Midas must risk losing everything he loves if he is to locate the shard and save the Known Lands.
I read a lot of epic fantasy and it’s hard for me to be impressed with what I read, but The Shard took me by surprise on many levels. It’s not the first novel by Ted Cross that I’ve read (the first was The Immortality Game, a cyberpunk technothriller, a terrific read, by the way), and I thought The Shard just couldn’t be better than TIG. Well, now I don’t know which one I love more, because while TIG is full of action, The Shard has both action and a lot more. Let’s start with Midas, such a complex character. A few years prior to the events described in the book, he suffered a terrible loss when his son was killed by a troll. When a few people are found dead and more bad news comes that there’s might be a war between men and elves, Midas has to decide whether to take his other two teenage sons with him to war, or (what his wife Rina wants) leave them behind. Midas is a strong character, and takes decisions even though he knows he may regret them later. His two sons, Alekas and Antos, well, I loved reading about them (especially, when Geldrath joined them). Both of them take after his father, fearless and ready to take action. Not for a moment do they retreat when they find themselves in danger. Geldrath is another of my favorite characters. Leaving his home to serve a two-year duty was hard for him. He looked forward to seeing his brother who had left his home some time before, but not everything happens in life as you hope it would. Helped by a company of dwarves, Geldrath becomes more mature and experienced in fighting, something that would help him in the near future. Oh, I think I can go on and on, but there are so many other great characters out there. Edo and Orcbait, two rangers, also play a significant part in the story. They travel far to find allies to fight against an army that unleashed havoc in the nearby territories, an army that is so relentless that only if men, elves and dwarves unite and find the lost shard from the Spire of Peace, the Known Lands may be saved.
When I said that The Shard is full of action and a lot more, I meant there’s love, love of a father who never knows if he’s made the right decision by taking his two sons to war, love of two sons who always follow their father and are proud of him. The Shard is a thrilling unpredictable adventure that takes you to lots of places and makes you guess as to what is going to happen next. The imagery is brilliant; I think it would make a terrific movie (Oh, I’d love to see that dragon!). I’d like to thank the author for such a thrilling journey. I rarely write long reviews, but this time I thought I needed to share my thoughts. By the way, The Shard will appeal both to young-adult and adult readers, and most certainly to fans of epic fantasy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ted Cross has spent the past two decades traveling the world as a diplomat, all the time dreaming about writing fantasy and science fiction. He's visited nearly forty countries and lived in seven, including the U.S., Russia, China, Croatia, Iceland, Hungary, and Azerbaijan. He's witnessed coup attempts, mafia and terrorist attacks, played chess with several world champions, and had bit parts in a couple of movies. He currently lives in Baku, Azerbaijan with his lovely wife and two teenage sons.
You can find more about Ted Cross’s books on his Amazon Author Page