Stengl’s fifth Tales of Goldstone Wood book has all the elements of a fantasy with dragons and castles and would-be kings, swords and vengeful witches, but the journey into the heart of the story is long and the plotline feels slightly forced.
Lord Alistair will be king one day. He struggles with wicked night dreams of dragons, chasms and a child. Lady Leta of Aiven arrives at Lord Alistair’s castle to marry him and join two prominent houses When Lord Alistair meets her, he knows he will never love her. The castle chronicler, keeper of all the past and present secrets of the kingdom, forces a stubborn Lord Alistair to learn to read but balks at teaching Lady Leta. In the meantime in a far-off kingdom, priestesses serve their goddess, the Dragonwitch, while she searches for the sword that has twice killed her. Only one person can wield this sword, and no one is safe from her vengeful search. The chronicler plays an important part in the secret that can send the kingdom into war. (BETHANY HOUSE, Jul., 400 pp., $14.99)
Linda Mae Baldwin