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Topics - Davis Ashura

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A Warrior's Penace, the grand finale to The Castes and the OutCastes releases today.

The blurb:
Following Stronghold’s destruction, Rukh and Jessira lead the ragged remnants of the OutCastes on the long march to Ashoka. There, they seek sanctuary for her people, but in order to do so, they must overcome unyielding law that demands exile for all ghrinas.

Meanwhile, Hal’El Wrestiva—exposed and reviled as the Withering Knife murderer—escapes from Ashoka and hatches one final scheme to resuscitate his soiled reputation. The Virtuous, a newly formed organization full of certitude and strife, plots the destruction of House Shektan. And Li-Choke and the Baels launch a final, desperate plan to save their kind as well as all of Humanity.

But it is Rukh who must confront the harshest of choices. It is one that will cost him everything he loves but might also see to the salvation of his home. He cannot falter for Suwraith has once again turned Her ruinous intentions toward Ashoka.

Here's the link for the ebook/print edition: https://www.amazon.com/Warriors-Penance-Castes-OutCastes-Book-ebook/dp/B01GARM1MG
And here's the link for the audiobook edition:http://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/A-Warriors-Penance-Audiobook/B01HDSZXQ2

A Warrior's Penance, the third and final book of my trilogy, The Castes and the OutCastes, is available starting on July 12th. To celebrate that release, the first book in the series, A Warrior's Path, is free starting today and running through July 12th.


The series sweeps from the majestic city of Ashoka to the perilous Wildness beyond her borders and explores a world where Caste determines mystical Talents, the purity of Jivatma expresses worth, and dharma may be based on a lie.

The story revolves around Rukh Shektan, a young warrior who has always understood duty and Jessira Grey, a woman whose existence ought to be impossible. He is a member in good standing of Caste Kumma while she is a ghrina, a child of two Castes, an abomination. The holy texts warn against her kind: they are to be executed whenever discovered, but for the first time in his life, Rukh defies duty. Jessira may be the key to his city’s survival.

When complete, The Castes and the OutCastes will be over 1600 pages of magic, mystery, murder, romance, politics, and mayhem.

So a couple of things. First, the third book, A Warrior's Penance, has been complete for some time now, and it was picked up by Audible Studios for production as an audiobook. That's weird but exciting that they decided to publish the finale of a series despite not purchasing the rights to the first two books.

Even more exciting, A Warrior's Penance is scheduled to be released simultaneously in ebook, print, and audiobook format on July 12th. An omnibus ebook edition of the entire trilogy will also be released on July 12th. Here's the link for A Warrior's Penance:

And here's the link for the Omnibus edition:


Dawn of Wonder is the stunning debut novel by Jonathan Renshaw and is also the first in his The Wakening epic fantasy series. The story is the coming of age tale of a young boy named Aeden, and from that perspective, the book may sound trite, but it succeeds in ways so many similar novels fail. First, Mr. Renshaw captures the absolute fun of being “almost thirteen”. His Aeden is a Tom Sawyeresque character who is utterly charming. From the very first scene when he tries to convince his friend Thomas to jump off a bridge into a snow-melt-cold stream to the various pranks and gags he manages to pull off throughout the novel with daring aplomb, there is joy in him, and he is a joy to discover.

But a novel can't be all fun and games. There has to be testing and testing there is. Mr. Renshaw shows us this ‘summertime of his life’ child and immediately engulfs him in tragedy. In the hands of a lesser author, what happens to Aeden would simply come off as paint-by-numbers writing. Often, these secondary characters seem to have a singular purpose: Die so the main feels sadness. That's not a flaw in Dawn of Wonder. Mr. Renshaw imbues all his characters with life and meaning. The loss Aeden experiences is genuine. I felt it. With one scene in particular, my heart actually clenched. That hasn’t happened in a long time.

Following this loss, young Aeden’s secret shame is revealed as he and his family have to flee their bucolic home. This shame-an abusive father-is one that will haunt Aeden throughout the rest of the story. It’s a fatal flaw that he did not deserve or cause, but one that will forever define him, rendering an otherwise courageous boy cowardly.

He travels on to the southern city of Castath and is eventually enrolled in the military academy meant to train the marshals, the nation's elite warriors and spies. It is there that the story spends the majority of its time, and in this, it is much like Anthony Ryan’s splendid Blood Song. While the story and scenes in Castath with Aeden’s training as a marshal aren’t quite as mysterious or riveting as those in Blood Song, they are, nevertheless, fascinating and well done. Characterizations are strong and most of them are quite likable. Much more happens in this large book (over 700 pages). There is great daring-do, ancient mysteries unearthed, and literal laugh-out-loud moments. There is also that sense of age, of history and truth to this novel that serves as the hallmark of the best worldbuilding.

But if that was all there was to this story: another coming-of-age story done well, but this one with humor, I wouldn’t be writing this review.

Instead, I am doing so because Mr. Renshaw’s writing is simply astounding. His effortless command of syntax, structure, and similes is remarkable. His writing is absolutely gorgeous with a breezy, yet detailed way of describing any scene and setting. There seemed to be a moment every page where I would have to pause and re-read a passage simply to take in the clever turn of phrase, the poetry, or the unexpected use of adjectives as nouns. It was absolutely beautiful and for this reason alone, should be read. His elegant, poetic prose, so like Mark Lawrence's (although Aeden is definitely not Jorg, nor is Dawn of Wonder grimdark), turned a very good story with themes that touched my heart into one that is wondrous (pun intended).

All in all, Dawn of Wonder was the finest self-published fantasy novel I’ve read since the previously mentioned Blood Song, and one of the finest fantasy novels I’ve read in the past few years, period.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Tanith Lee in remembrance
« on: May 26, 2015, 04:05:37 PM »
Recently, fantasy giant, Tanith Lee passed away. Here's a remembrance of her work from Tor.


There is an ongoing thread about female fantasy authors that should be more widely read, and there aren't many that should be higher on the list than Tanith Lee. Her books were so influential in the entire fantasy landscape, and I wish more people knew about her books, especially the Paradys novels and The Tales from the Flat Earth. She could write creepy mood and evocative setting like no one else and incorporate horrific takes on modern fairy tales. I loved Heartbeast, which was about a werewolf, but it was absolutely not urban fantasy. It was Victorian horror. But then there were some fun children stories. One I especially liked was set in India. Then there was Cyrion, a heroic warrior who was unlike Conan in that he was very cerebral in how he dished out his violence. He mainly won his battles through guile. I could go on and on about her books and stories, but I hope people will go out and rediscover her works.

Rest in peace to a wonderful author and my heartfelt condolences to those she left behind.

Here's an interesting article by Stephen R. Donaldson (hat tip r/fantasy) about fantasy. It's a nice synopsis and cogent defense of fantasy fiction. It might lean to the literary for some and come across as self-justification for others with no room for authors who simply wish to entertain and not tackle 'life issues'. But it does explain how fantasy-the oldest genre (not the oldest profession)-shouldn't be pigeonholed or dismissed. Oddly, the content reminds me of something I once read by Scott Bakker. I wonder if Donaldson has read The Darkness that Comes Before or if Donaldson was an influence on Bakker?


Reason for edit: I screwed up the link. I think I got it fixed now.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / How Terry Brooks saved epic fantasy
« on: March 18, 2015, 10:55:15 PM »
Terry Brooks gets a lot of grief for being derivative but what would fantasy be like if he hadn't penned Sword of Shannara? I doubt it would be the genre that exploded into mainstream consciousness and popularity in the last 35 years.


I just published Stories from Arisa, a short story collection set in the same world as A Warrior's Path. Here's the blurb:

Arisa: a world of loss and hardship; of legend and wonder; the world of A Warrior's Path. Return there now with Stories from Arisa, a short story collection featuring four wonderful new fables from that mythic place; each one a polished gem; together, an assemblage spanning the realms of hope, humor, tragedy, loss, and love.

Received Wisdom
The Baels of the Eastern Plague have fallen away from Hume’s teachings. It is Li-Dirge who finds leadership thrust upon him. He must challenge the SarpanKum and return his brothers to the path of fraternity.

The Prank
The House of Fire and Mirrors. The Fort and the Sword. Both are Kumma military academies and fierce rivals in the city of Ashoka. The Wrath is the annual competition between the two schools, deciding bragging rights for the next year, but it is the Prank that dictates who laughs last and longest. This year, it is especially important for Rukh, Keemo, Farn, and Jaresh.

A Lesson Learned
Drin Port only wanted a long, tall drink. Many long, tall drinks. When chance brings him the opportunity of a lifetime, will he have the wisdom to take advantage of it?

The Missing Diamond
Rector Bryce is called upon to investigate a missing diamond. The thief is not at all who he would have expected

Also included are the prologue and chapter 1 of A Warrior’s Knowledge, Volume Two of The Castes and the OutCastes.

A Warrior's Path is actually the 7th novel I've written, but it's the first one where I trusted my words enough to release it out into the world.  Before I did so, I wanted an independent assessment, so I asked for a Kirkus review, and here it is:


I especially like the part where they talk about "the ...milieu is markedly original..." and "...first-rate world building." Funny thing: they draft I sent Kirkus was the one I thought was the final, but my sister, with whom I share a brain, convinced to rewrite certain sections. All told, it turned out to be changing about 3% of the words or less, but that 3% made a huge difference.

I should also point out that this book is not set in a proto-typical medieval Europe but rather in a world that is a melange of India, Japan, and ancient Greece.

Anyway, here's what the book is about:

Two millennia ago, a demon thundered into the skies of Arisa, casting down the First World. She was Suwraith, the Bringer of Sorrows. And on the same night as Her arrival, there rose about the world's great cities the Oases, a mysterious means by which Humanity lies protected against the might of the Sorrow Bringer. It is a temporary respite. Throughout the rest of Arisa, Suwraith’s Chimeras boil across the Wildness, the wide swaths of land beyond the boundaries of the few, far-flung cities, killing any unfortunates in their path and ruling all in Her name. But always She seeks more: Humanity’s utter extinction.

Into this world is born Rukh Shektan, a peerless young warrior from a Caste of warriors. He is well-versed in the keen language of swords and the sacred law of the seven Castes: for each Caste is a role and a Talent given, and none may seek that to which they were not born. It is the iron-clad decree by which all cities maintain their fragile existence and to defy this law means exile and death. And Rukh has ever been faithful to the teachings of his elders.

But all his knowledge and devotion may not save him because soon he must join the Trials, the holy burden by which by which the cities of Humanity maintain their slender connection with one another, and the only means by which a warrior can prove his worth. There in the Wildness, Rukh will struggle to survive as he engages in the never-ending war with the Chimeras, but he will also discover a challenge to all he has held to be true and risk losing all he holds dear. And it will come in the guise of one of Humanity’s greatest enemies – perhaps its greatest allies.

Worse, he will learn of Suwraith’s plans. The Sorrow Bringer has dread intentions for his home. The city of Ashoka is to be razed and her people slaughtered.

And here's where you can buy it:




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