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The Select’s Bodyguard by Nick Hayden

 

The Cataclysm destroyed our magic wells and, along with them, our technology, our scientific advancements, and our aristocracy. We thought the world was dying. Forced to rely on our former enemies, we evolved, but in those first days, we had no inkling of the true extent of that change.

(See also The Doctor’s Assistant)


A complete novel

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Listed: May 16, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

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Children of the Wells Debut Offering

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Aug 25, 2013: A man awakes to an apocalyptic scenario, and his first thought is to find and protect the proud, prickly, damaged young magician he has spent years serving without appreciation or gratitude. He’s going to save her whether she likes it or not, and of course, she won’t like it.

This well-written novella-length story is carried along both by the characters’ quests to reach their goals in the midst of a world falling apart, and the unfolding of the motivations behind two intense, uncompromising personalities. Will you, as the reader, be able to sympathize with either of them? Calea is unwarrantedly rude and abrasive to all the mild mannered folk around her, while Bron comes across as masochistic in his loyalty. But they are both incredibly courageous and determined in the face of great physical and emotional peril. Refreshingly, the author restrains himself from an obvious route he could have taken with Bron and Calea and stays true to their difficult personalities to the end.

At least for now. There’ll be more to come. "The Select’s Bodyguard" is the first in a series being written by five different authors in the same setting, a magic-using world that has suddenly lost its magic. Their goals are "to write the stories we’d like to see. Not just fantastic and fantastical stories, but stories rooted in truth and goodness." Each novella will be serialized and then released as a free ebook. We’ll never run out of things to read . . . 

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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An excellent threshold into a promising series

By KCaiShi, member

Nov 7, 2013: The novella-length first entry in Children of the Wells is fast-paced and action-packed. The opening is immediate and engaging, as the reader is thrust into the head of the eponymous bodyguard as he searches a city that is crashing and burning around him. I say "thrust into the head" because the style of the prose is incredibly immersive; I didn’t notice the blunt, simple sentence structure of Bron’s passages until after the first POV switch, but once I did I realized just how much it contributed to the reader’s ability to see the city of Jalseion through the eyes of such a single-minded man.

The two principal characters, Bron and Calea, aren’t what I’d call immediately likeable characters, but they are certainly engaging and interesting. Both of them are strong, forceful personalities; other characters are mentioned in passing, but the focus of the story is squarely on these two and their relationship. The story’s chronology is slightly nonlinear, following the past from Calea’s perspective and the present from Bron’s, and both angles shed new light on Jalseion and the world it inhabits. (As it happens, the setting of Children of the Wells is far from standard sword-and-sorcery: magic-powered automobiles and prosthetics give it a distinctly magitech feel.)

The plot itself is somewhat sparse, a simple tale that reads as the first arc of a greater epic, more than a complete story in itself, and there are many tantalizing details sprinkled throughout that have yet to see resolution in the first book. As it is, The Select’s Bodyguard opens the rest of the series beautifully: not too complex or wrapped up in its own conceits, but with a depth that begs for exploration and two characters the reader can’t help but pay attention to. Definitely worth a read for any fans of epic fantasy, and strong enough to warrant a general recommendation as well.

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