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Riders of Darith by Nicole Spruit


The war has dragged on for ten years. The Darithian Empire is on the verge of victory, but Tal wants nothing to do with it.

Rebecca dreams of a new life, but gets more than she bargained for.

Dragons and magic, legends and swords—an old-fashioned fantasy adventure . . . 

A novel, no longer online

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Listed: Sep 13, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

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Rollicking, fun fantasy adventure

By Linda Schoales, editor

Feb 12, 2009: At 22 chapters, “Riders of Darith” has the makings of an epic fantasy adventure, complete with heroes, merchant kings, and dragons. The writing is great, with well-paced action, strong characters, and a flash of wry wit. Tal and his companions are trying to deliver a unique “Package” but meet several obstacles, usually in the form of bands of fighters. One of these groups brings Tal a summons from home that he can’t ignore, although he does negotiate a delay to fulfill his obligations and satisfy his honour.

The story starts in a tavern. I love the first paragraph. “Tal wished Rogen hadn’t fallen in love again. There was almost no chance of being able to leave this town quietly. Again. But Tal would be damned if he wouldn’t finish a last meal before living on the road again.” It sets the tone very nicely. Of course they can’t leave town quietly.

Tal is the leader of the group and clearly a noble, although there are hints that he’s also something else. He’s hot tempered, mercurial in mood, impatient of folly, and has mental abilities that include scanning his surroundings, and reading minds. This job is a means for him to finance a personal quest and avoid his familly. Rogen comes across as a vain poppinjay: headstrong, in love with love, quick to uphold his honour, quick to whine. He may also be a bit of brute. I’m not sure what he did to the chancellor’s wife that she “seemed to be within an inch of her life.” There’s also Brus, the faithful family retainer and peacemaker, and the dissimilar twins, Jed and Dalon.

There’s a sidebar story about Rebecca and her sick mother Jessica, who live on the grudging charity of Jessica’s sister and brother-in-law. Rebecca is like Cinderella, forced to work hard in her aunt’s tavern, while being constantly reminded of her debt to them. So far this story is separate from the main one, appearing every 3 or 4 chapters.

The pacing is good, with plenty of action, witty banter, and careful world-building. The backstory is developing nicely, with enough description to build a picture while not interfering with the plot. There is a lot more left to be filled in but I suspect that this is going to be a long, epic novel so there will be plenty of time to get the rest of the backstory while enjoying the current story.

There are a few minor formatting issues—not all paragraphs are separated by 2 lines, and Chapter 13 starts with a split paragraph. Also, it took me a while to realize I could scroll down past the readers’ comments to the “Newer Post” link—I thought I had to scroll back up to the top to get to the link for the next chapter.

Minor issues aside, so far “Riders of Darith” is a really good, rollicking fantasy adventure. The characters are well-drawn, the backstory is intriguing, and the pace of the action works very well. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, adventure novels with a fantasy twist, or just a new twist on dragons.

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Fun and Fantasy

By Miladysa, editor, author of Refuge of Delayed Souls

Nov 7, 2008: With fifteen chapters to date this story is proving to be a fun filled gem with some interesting characters. There is no big mystery as to what you can expect – the header gives the game away to a degree and so far the author is delivering as promised.

There is a natural flow to the story and I like the way the characters simmer and slowly reveal hidden skills and personality traits. Together with humour, conflict and just a hint [more . . .]

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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Classic Fantasy in Need of More Proof-Reading

By Robert Rodgers, author of The Last Skull

Apr 21, 2010: Those seeking sword-wielding heroics with a small dash of political intrigue would do fine by Riders of Darith; nevertheless, the prose is beset with a nest of minor problems that bog down what would otherwise be a snappy narrative.

The story concerns Tal, a dragon in the guise of a human struggling to find his place in a world—to this end, he’s grouped himself with a small group of would-be-adventurers on a mission to deliver a princess to her noble father. [more . . .]

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split personality, but a good read

By BFuniv, member

Jan 1, 2010: The main story was nice and was carried to a logical ending point. It just needed "THE END" and an invitation to return for sequels. Consider it a novella posing as a first portion of a trilogy and it works just fine. No need to keep up a serial, Nicole Spruit needs to just write the next book.

Chapter by chapter online would be fine, with no time lines.

The secondary story [more . . .]

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No title

By nomesque, author of Nomesque Fiction

Mar 7, 2009: Riders of Darith is, at the point of writing this, 28 chapters long. The main character,Tal, is a mysterious, moody guy with some classic teen attitude thrown in for good measure. He’s on a search for ‘the gods’? His journey – rather purposeless wandering and taking mercenary-warrior-band type jobs, from what I can gather – is interupted by call back home.

The characters in this seem quite true to life. I’m sure that most readers will know a spoiled brat like [more . . .]

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