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A Dragon of Turicum
Eldred, the heir to the throne of Deria struggles to manifest the Bond, the gift the Night Mother bestowed on their people. He must gain this power before he reaches the age of ascension or he will lose all he has fought for. In the midst of his struggles, news of trouble in the distant north reaches the kingdom. Eldred must face the challenge. Deciphering the mysteries of the Wretcheds, a discarded people of the Night Mother, could spell the difference between victory and death.
Bracher’s debut coming-of-age fantasy adventure pits a close-minded elite clinging to tradition against a brash young man who must battle a dragon to get people to change. Hopes are high for King Alfred’s seventeen-year-old son Eldred, who is stuck training as a squire. He is expected to pass the rigorous trials and attain the Night Mother goddess’ blessing—called the Bond, the psychic connection between warriors who fight in unison—before his eighteenth birthday. Because his instructors see no glimmer of Bond in him, his only option is to become the household steward for his uncle and see his cousin become Alfred’s heir. When he’s accused of planning to cheat in the trials, an enraged Alfred assigns him a deadly new task—travel to Turicum, the land of the outcast Wretcheds, to dispatch a deadly dragon. Eldred’s savvy enough to note that the knights Alfred sends with him are all in Alfred’s disfavor, meaning he is not expected to come back alive.

Bracher crafts a rich mythology of medieval life, cultural differences, and a message of tolerance, expertly weaving social commentary and thoughtful characterization, addressing the harm of discrimination in various forms. The elite attribute Eldred’s inability to Bond to his mixed race. Meanwhile, the Wretched are denigrated as being simple and barbaric, yet Eldred discovers, on his mission, that they have advanced science and medicine, and a special link to the Night Mother and the three magical stones set in Eldred’s skin.

The first book in the Heirs of Regula series, A Dragon of Turicum offers a rugged world, vivid descriptions of combat, imaginative religion, magic, and cultures like the Wretcheds, and the welcome message that heroes can have many roles. Developing all that comes at some expense to plot momentum, but readers of epic fantasy will be engrossed with both Eldred’s fearless determination to prove himself and his broader world.

Takeaway: Fantasy fans will enjoy this brash young hero battling a dragon, testing his abilities, and finding his place.

Great for fans of: Melanie Rawn, David Farland.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A