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K.C. Julius
A Realm at Stake: Book II of The Drinnglennin Chronicles
K.C. Julius, author

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

An ominous darkness is gathering over the Known World, and none will escape its long shadow... In Helgrinia, Fynn, the bastard son of Aetheor Yarl, finds his position ever more precarious—and when tragedy strikes on Midsommer’s Eve, he is compelled to take a perilous vow. Across the Erolin Sea, Master Morgan travels the length of the Isle determined to uncover the roots of King Urlion’s illness; the treachery he discovers sets him on an even more dangerous course. In the elven sanctuary of Mithralyn, Whit and Halla’s mutual enmity grows, and an ill-thought out decision by one of the cousins spells calamity for the other. And in Drinnkastel, Maura and Leif, summoned there by the ailing High King and presented as royal relatives, become embroiled in the intrigue and jealousies of the Konigur court. To make matters worse, they risk exposure by Borne Braxton, also in the capital, who knows Maura’s true identity. All the while, deep in the Lost Lands, Lazdac Strigori stirs his cauldron of chaos, as the bitter seeds he has planted bear their baneful fruit. A day of reckoning is fast approaching for those he deems have denied him his rightful heritage, which bodes ill for all.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10


Plot: A Realm at Stake is the second book in a fantasy series and thus is driven by subplots set up in the first series title, and new subplots—among them the coming of age of Fynn, the bastard son of the King Aetheor, Yarl of Helgrinia; the revelation of Whit’s innate magic skills; the kidnapping of Halla—set up to shape adventures in subsequent titles. The real ‘plot” of this novel is how these subplots elaborate the world of Drinnglennin, which the author has given a richly imagined culture and society.

Prose: Julius’s prose is well suited to the story she tells. It’s colorful without being ornate and serves to describe well scenes of both high fantasy and courtly intrigue.

Originality: The interplay of fantasy and royal politics in this novel is redolent of well-known multi-volume fantasies such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones saga. However, the intrigues and adventures of her characters are entirely original to her story and stamp their imprint on a familiar fantasy template.

Character/Execution: Julius builds her panoramic narrative around the adventures of individual characters, each of whom she gives a distinct personality and role in the story. They are fully realized and credible in their exploits.

Date Submitted: July 19, 2020