Title: Warrior Queen of Ha-Ran-Fel
Author: Sandra A. Kopp
Publisher: Tate Publishing (July 24, 2012)
Merewyn Havalseth leads a quiet life in the city of Atwall where her father, Jonah is their leader. That is until the nephew Jonah raised, Lucius Mordarius, overtakes the city and kills Jonah, his wife and casts Merewyn aside to become a slave for a stable owner. The city of Atwall becomes a nightmare for all except those that now follow Lucius.
For two years Merewyn just survives working in the stables waiting until she is able to escape or die. When she feels she is unable to stand her existence any longer she grabs a horse and makes a break toward the forest surrounding the city. The owners of the horse chase after her and threaten to punish her when caught until they realize she is a girl and she tells them her story. Arris and his brother Davon are from Nimbia, a city that is peaceful and usually does not engage in conflict, many from the area are healers and although they do not reveal their secrets they help those in need. The brothers left their city without their father’s blessing however their King does wish them well and if and when they return the king guarantees they will have their commission back. During their journey Arris and Davon meet up with Charles Bordner and Hans, traders from Nimbia and realize they are on a similar mission, a quest to kill the Baugonril, a demon who is terrorizing the lands. Baugonril are created by a sorcerer named Ryadok who they believe is also behind the rise of Lucius’ power.
Charles knew and liked Merewyn’s father so vows to help Merewyn escape her current way of life while on their way to kill the Baugonril. The group knows they cannot take Merewyn into battle even though she desperately wants to avenge her parent’s murder so they part ways by sending her off to a small village where they hope she will live a long and happy life. Merewyn however, has other plans and makes her way to Ha-Ran-Fel, where the legendary warriors the Horse Lord’s live to see if they are willing to help in her pursuit. The travel is treacherous and after leaving a small village she is overcome with illness and a Baugonril crosses her path on his way to destroy and plunder, in her delusionary state, she distracts the Baugonril and saves many lives. She is badly injured and is taken to Tagenryd, a city where Ruelon, the King of the Horse Lord’s lives and they treat her. The King is very grateful for what she did and agrees to help her with her quest of revenge and trains her to be a warrior.
Meanwhile, while she is being trained, her four previous companions travel on to destroy the Baugonril and Ryadok, the sorcerer that created them. They come across many others fighting the same fight and band together to continue their journey. Arris believes Ryadok can sense him and leaves the warriors thinking he will have a better chance of killing him if he goes off by himself. He does not realize that the gift of healing he posses is very close to the darkness that has claim Ryadok and he must be careful.
Merewyn trains fast and becomes a great fighter, and the King grows fond of her. Before they go off to war he wants to marry her and make sure she is set for life if anything happens to him. She becomes Queen of Ha-Ran- Fel as they go off to war against the Baugonril, Ryadok and Lucius. During a heated battle, the King is gravely injured and dies; Merewyn does not want the kingdom but wants to remain Queen until her revenge is complete, so they ride to Valhalea, the country where her beloved city, Atwell is located. Merewyn’s warriors meet up with a large army of Nimbians (who decided to join the fight) and descend on Atwall. As she turns to thank those that helped she sees her old friends Charles, Han, Arris and Devon and is overjoyed that they are all well and safe.
I enjoyed this fantasy story immensely. The characters were interesting with just the right amount of good and evil. I liked Merewyn, as she is a strong woman who takes things into her own hands and creates what she wants in life. I really liked Charles; he is a very good-natured person and a great leader for the group. Arris battled some inner demons and came through as a hero. The world was interesting, very medieval with magic and mystery. There was a lot of traveling and fighting while following the four companions in the middle of the story that dragged a bit, however when the battles were happening the pace picked up. All in all an enjoyable epic fantasy that pulls you in and does not let you go until the end.