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The Kinsfield Legacy

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by K. C. May



Back in my Creative Writing 101 class at school, one of the key points driven home was the need for an opening which grabs the readers’ attention and won’t let them put the book back on the shelf.   Too many writers, though (myself included), want to give long backgrounds which set the stage for the storyline.  K.C. May must have been paying attention in school, because from the moment I turned on my Kindle, I was hooked on The Kinshield Legacy.

The protagonist, Gavin Kinshield, is a warrant knight, sort of a roving policeman and the descendent of Ronor Kinshield, the champion/bodyguard of the last king of the realm.  When King Arek died under mysterious circumstances some 200 years before, he magically placed five gems in a tablet.  Whoever was able to retrieve the gems would be the next king.  His intent was that Ronor would do so, never thinking the realm would be so long without a monarch.

Driven by dreams and urges he doesn’t understand, the reluctant Gavin starts retrieving the gems after clues come to him unbidden.  The problem is that he has no desire to be king.  He thinks of himself as an uneducated, unsophisticated peasant, not worthy of the throne. His plan is to give the gems to a friend, a noble whom he thinks would be much better suited to rule.

Gavin’s retrieval of the gems is no secret.  The tablet rests in a cave, and people notice when each gem is taken.  And this catches the attention of Brodas Ravenkind, a wizard who had his own designs on the throne and who planned on taking the stones once they were retrieved.  

Along with two female and one male “battler,” a diminutive blacksmith, and his noble friend, Gavin faces long odds against Ravenkind and his army of warriors with whom he as magically induced their loyalty.

Although the wordsmithing of the book does not particularly stand out, the story grabs the reader, not letting go.   So where some authors try to get too literary, the writing here conveys the tale without getting in the way. 

And the book does grab the reader. I end each gym workout with 30 minutes on the recumbent bike, and I bring my Kindle to help pass the time.  I opened the novel at about the 78% mark, and the next thing I knew, an hour had passed.  I didn’t want to stop reading, so I kept pedaling.  I finally had to quit, but after driving home, I picked the story back up and finished it, delaying dinner until I was done.  This is a sign of a book which engrosses the reader, something found only too rarely.

I personally like Gavin.   He is not the typical kingly figure.  Oh, he is a good fighter, and he has a good heart.  But only rarely does he show signs of intellect, he sometimes goes off half-cocked, and he has no desire to be a leader.  And when in custody of a very important piece of jewelry, he loses it to a prostitute.  I am not sure when I last read about a protagonist king who makes use of professional ladies—that is something usually left to the “evil” kings.  Gavin is a real person, with real issues and personal traits.

The book is not perfect.   Given his personality, I wonder how Gavin didn’t attempt revenge when Ravenkind killed his family some years before the start of this tale.  And I am curious as to why people didn’t stake out the cave in which the tablet was kept when they knew someone was retrieving the gems.  But overall, this is a fine story, well worth reading.  I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed it, was sorry when I finished, and eagerly await the next volume.

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