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Review: At the Crossroads of Swords – Jeremiah Cain

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

Enter a world of magic and war, where empires rise and fall by the clashing of swords. From the dark empire of Tridual, young soldier Adratus must set out to navigate treacherous borders and shifting alliances as he fights to protect his people from the oppressive Holy Dayigan Empire.

But when he falls for a local man, Ubaz, in the Drevite Nation, ruled by powerful druidesses, their love threatens to complicate his mission even further. With tensions rising and enemies closing in, Adratus and Ubaz must fight not only against the Holy Dayigan Empire, but also against their own people’s mistrust and prejudice.

As an ancient power rises from within the Dayigan Empire, threatening to destroy everything in its path, can Adratus and Ubaz unite their people and defeat this unstoppable force before it’s too late? Prepare for an epic tale of love, betrayal, and unbridled power in this dark epic fantasy that will keep you enthralled until the very end.

Warning: Contains adult material including adult activity, harsh language, and violence.

The Review

In the year 812, at the age of sixteen, Immunis Adratus has come to the Tridual Army.  As he’s hailing to Zeanazel, Lord of Darkness and Defiance, God of Fire, First Hue of Light, that  teaches wisdom, might, reliance on oneself, and praying for carnal energy, he’s interrupted.  He is new to this army and is meeting his roommate Optio Maximus, Second in Command of the Fourth Century Fifth Cohort. He is three years senior to Adratus. He also finds they have a third roommate – Grethuk, a reptilian man.    

Adratus came straight from Nerageat, where he was found to have an above average Pneuma, levels of spiritual energy, and was trained as Faldenrus. A new program was created by the Tridulan Army with Faldenri magic, which helped the forces. He has a special ring, but doesn’t know how to use all his powers. As he adjusts to army life, an injured Treovae woman is rescued at the fort, and word comes from Maximus that they must abandon the fort immediately.

The injured Treovae woman relates a tragic tale to the Legate and General.  She came from a farming town just beyond the Bloody Belt within the Dayigan Empire.  In this human town, she was the only one to escape the devastation: men, women, and children were all slaughtered, and the town burned down to ash. The woman swears it was Tridual legionaries who destroyed the town. They were there to maintain a defensive blockade, and would never cause such destruction.

Adaratus, Maximus and Grethuk are now on a mission to find those who committed these crimes and caused a potential international incident. Witnessing the destruction firsthand, Adaratus cannot believe all what sees – mile-wide field of dust. He investigates using the Faldenrus to detect magic, and what he discovers will lead them to the evil Dayigan Empire.  

In the year 814, elf named Valqyer – artist, philosopher, and writer of poetry – has come of age.  He lives in the city of Moonhame, where elves worship the Titans of Light, and Valqyer will be Duke one day. His father Noriaki presents him with a special gift, the Wand of Moonhame, one of the Ten Wands of Elfhame used to create both old and new Faery Realm and The Sorrow Passage.

In 837, Adratus meets Lady Veronica, mayor of Port Haven. The refugees that escaped the Dayigans came to Port Haven to live safely.  Now they are threatened again, and Adratus comes to warn them. Adratus has followed the orb and Eadwulf, a lesser noble of the Dayigans.  

The battle with the Dayigans continues on, as the Empires and the Five Tribes still hate humans. The Dayigans, who are human, lied, slaughtered the tribes and the land and used black magic. Those that became part of the Dayigans Empire and the Holy Order of Knights of Slithex were weak in mind and had hate in their hearts. And the worst is yet to come.

Cain’s third epic novel of dark drama and thrilling adventure in “The Encroaching Chaos” series, At the Crossroads of Swords, is filled with sorrow, cruelty, abuse, forbidden romance and prejudice. There are also moments of romance between Ubaz and Adratus, but not until later in the novel. I wanted to tell you so much more about this novel, but I don’t want distort or ruin this masterpiece.  

“The Encroaching Chaos” series is complex at times, with so much to absorb: lore, fantasy, tribes, empires, magic, world building, realms, Irefaeries, the Blessed, fascinating characters and so much more. There’s also mention of dragons and vampires – maybe the author has plans for them in other upcoming stories.

There is so much that I like about books two and three: they are set up in parts, with chapters in-between. There are maps showing the different Empires and lands, and insignias that identify the Armies and tribes. There are also returning characters mentioned from the previous books. It’s clear that a ton of research that went into this epic novel.

I can’t wait to see what Cain has planned for the fourth novel in the series. I highly recommend At the Crossroads of Swords and the entire “Encroaching Chaos” series, especially for those who love fantasy. These novels that are page-turners, an enticing, mind-boggling mix of fantasy and suspense.  

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California. Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018. My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen. New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012. She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series. Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book!

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing. I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews. One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group. Joining her site was such an eye opener. I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.