The Cracked Amulet
RB Watkinson, author
Welcome to Dumnon, a dark and compelling world of failing states, religions, magik, and spirits. A tale full of nuanced, quirky characters that seems too real to be described as fantasy. A new Priest-king rules in Mureck, and the priests of the oppressive god Murak rise again to bring war to the lands of Dumnon. They also search for those with Wealdan in their blood, for it gives them power. Power to twist, alter and control other beings – human and beast – and ultimately to gain yet more power. Coryn, a farmboy, loses his family and flees his home with his little sister. He meets a Wealdan-bearer who leads him to safety, gives him a cracked amulet for protection, and steps through a standing stone taking his sister with her. We meet him again as a new freed slave, able to continue his journey to find his sister and fulfil an oath. In the desert, he must make a choice between his oath and saving Dame Mureen. He survives through stoic endurance and great skill with sword and bow. Katleya is frustrated, able to see the Wefan but not draw on its power. She is determined to reach one of the fabled Havens, colleges full of scholars and teachers, where she can learn to use her Wealdan fully. She and her uncle flee to a sea port to escape the Murecken armies. Hours after her uncle’s death, she must take ship to escape the Thief-takers of the city. It is a pirate ship. This too, she escapes. In the desert, she joins Mureen to cross the mountains to the north. She survives through bloody-minded stubbornness, wits and an unbelievable skill with knives. Leveen is driven by a single ambition, one she is willing to do anything and everything to achieve. She believes she has found one with so much Wealdan in her blood, the High-priest of Murak would give her anything she wants in exchange. Trapped in the middle of inhospitable desert mountains, Mureen is desperate and almost loses her faith in her god, Lehot. Using her small amount of Wealdan, she struggles to save the few survivors left in her care from Murecken priests and the beasts they control. Perhaps Lehot is with her, for the two people who are drawn to her in the desert, are the two who can help her. With so many dangers to contend with, how will any of them survive, let alone achieve their goals?
Watkinson kicks off a promising series with this winning first installment to the Wefan Weaves trilogy. Powers are shifting in Dumnon, a world where a pervasive energy called “wefan” is contained within the “weave,” which is found throughout nature and the air itself. Only Wealdan-bearers, those who have the ability to tap into the weave, can see the wefan and use it. Young Coryn aef Arlean and Katleya aef Laeft leave their homes for different reasons: Coryn is determined to find his sister, Lera, who was taken as a toddler eight years ago by a mysterious woman who promised to protect the girl and gave Coryn a special cracked amulet for protection. Wealdan-bearer Katleya is trying to reach a haven where her talents can be nurtured and honed. However, bloodhunter-priests ravage the land and pursue Katleya, whose Wealdan blood is a potent elixir for them, forcing her to take refuge with a group of Wealdan healers. Coming across the group while searching for his sister, Coryn meets Katleya, and his amulet proves invaluable as bloodhunter-priests close in on them. Captivating characters, mythical creatures, and exciting battles make this a treat for fantasy readers. (BookLife)