Forging of a Knight: The Stolen Thief, by Hugo V. Negron, is the fourth in the Forging of a Knight series, and the first I read. When I started to read it, I didn’t realize it was the fourth in a series, but it stands alone well, once you get past the first few chapters of information overload catching you up on what is going on with the characters.
This is a fantasy adventure book, featuring noble knights, pompous kings, elves, myths, magic, and other creatures. Negron excels in world building and adventure. The world is complete, unique, and true to its own internal rules. There are difficult journeys and battles a-plenty, which will no doubt appeal to fantasy fans. Qualtan, First Knight of the Alliance, disobeys his King in order to find and rescue his friend, Glaive, a half-Orcne, who has been kidnapped by Lord Countemaast, who himself has betrayed the King by embezzling funds to buy elfin artifacts of curious origin. In so doing, he finds a hidden underground kingdom led by an Empress whose every move is calculated to give her more power. The Empress imprisons Qualtan and the rest of the book involves his attempts at escape and rescue of others.
The world in which Qualtan lives is described vividly and I have a very clear mind’s-eye picture of what it looks like and what it would feel like to live there. I don’t, however, have a very clear mind’s-eye picture of Qualtan himself. He is a little too noble, a little too strong, invincible, and Super-hero-ish to be a three dimensional person to me. His ‘fatal flaw’ is his nobility: his willingness to sacrifice himself for others who may not appreciate his sacrifice. The other characters likewise are more types than individuals, which I found odd when I read Negron’s biography and found out that he was a psychologist by day. I wanted to know more about Qualtan’s self-doubt and his desires beyond completing his quest. The dialogue was either pompous or, in the case of the misunderstood Orcnes, clownish.
Still, the phrase “ripping yarn” is called to mind. The fantasy creatures are singular and well drawn, and the story is exciting and suspenseful. There are themes worth reading – about myth and belief and looking behind what you think you know to find the truth.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.