By Divine Right is a novella by Patrick Carr that is largely part of a marketing plan. But it also happens to be such an intriguing story that it both stands alone and serves what it’s designed to do – entice the reader to a new fantasy trilogy that begins publication in Late October.
The trilogy is The Darkwater Saga, and the first volume due Oct. 27 is The Shock of Night. If this volume and it successors live up to the promise of By Divine Right, then it will be a very good trilogy indeed.
The setting is the capital city of Bunard in the kingdom of Collum. The story is told by Willet Dura, a reeve (or guard officer) in the service of the king. Some years previously, the kingdom had been at war, and, called up to fight, Willet had missed his ordination as priest by a week. Because he fought and killed in the war, he is no longer eligible to be a priest, and least in the order he had prepared for.
The is a land where gifts are important. Nobles and the wealthy each have a gift – beauty, craft, sum, parts, helps, or devotion. Gifts are vitally important, the “currency” around which society is centered. Only the king has all the gifts, which are transmitted to each generation. Sometimes gifts are split among children, reducing their power and effectiveness. Common people and the poor rarely if ever have a whole or part of a gift.
Willet becomes involved in the whole subject of gifts when he investigates the murder of a man whose gift was stolen. As it turns out, others have been killed and their gifts stolen. Someone is killing people and collecting their gifts, which can mean only one thing – someone is planning to usurp the kingship.
Even in the short form of the novella, Carr develops the main plot and sub-plots. Characterization in the story is especially strong; the characters are almost immediately recognizable and understood. (Readers have noted this in his previous trilogy of books, The Staff & the Sword.)
A good story in and of itself, By Divine Right suggests there’s an even better story coming.
Photograph by Petr Kratochvil via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.