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Druid’s Bane by Phillip Henderson

Druid’s Bane by Phillip Henderson is a fantasy novel set in a low magic feudal country. The world of Arkaelyon is similar to Europe except they believe in magic even less than the medieval Europeans did. In some respects, this novel is just an alternative world text and just barely a fantasy novel.

Genre:  Fantasy

Publisher: Acclaimed Books

Released:  2010

Stars:  3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

Danielle is a Princess who is involved with reforming the lives of the serfs within her country, however her brother Kane seeks to do just the opposite and without the knowledge of the king, is trying to pass a bill legalizing slavery. Danielle is her brother’s rival, and she is forced to engage in a delicate political dance where she disobeys her father’s edicts in order to unravel the truth.

As the book progresses, Danielle suffers many setbacks and finds herself consistently struggling to see through the gaps in the knowledge she is allowed to possess by her father and his counsel. Working with her half information mixed with lies, she tries to ignore the fetters placed on her by her father and unravel the truth for the sake of the poor in her Kingdom. Danielle is a master at Machiavellian plotting and does her best to circumvent complicated alliances.

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This is an interesting novel but, as I said, is extremely low fantasy with just a few dreams and a single witch with mild supernatural powers. The novel focuses more on political intrigue and there is little action. There is not one real battle within the entire book.

Other than the lack of traditional fantasy elements and action, this novel had a few other patterns which grew old for this reader. Foremost was the repetitive nature of Danielle trying to take care of something and being reprimanded for doing something wrong. This happens a dozen times. Also, there are many instances in which she discovers information has been withheld and she has been lied to, and this also occurs again and again. Then, she will take matters into her own hand and fail. Part of me wonders what the message is here. The author has set this world up for continuing series, which is fine, however additional books are absent on Amazon. Thus, scenes where she is hidden from knowing things about people we do not know and never meet, seem to be useless filler just making the novel longer for no reason,

If you enjoy feudal political plotting more than action, then this book is something you should look up. however, if you are looking for mages and monsters this one should remain on the shelves. I do not want to be too hard on the author as it is well written and was enjoyable for me to read, but it was bit repetitive, and I feel if some of this had been removed, we would have gotten a bit farther in the tale.

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