Devlin's Justice - A Review

Devlin's Justice

Publisher: Spectra
400 pages

The third book in the Sword of Change series.


Devlin manages to overcome the magic spell that has left him weak in both body and mind; he finds that the Sword of Light is indeed in Duncaer, and he finally grips the prize, so called, in his hand. That the sword feels as if it was custom made for him gives him pause - but only for a moment.

Because now he must return to Jorsk, having completed his mission. He and his band - Stephen, the minstral, among others - have been gone longer than any of them anticipated. How has Jorsk fared? Will they be returning to ruins, desolation?

In the meantime, Devlin must get through the lines of Jorsk's enemy. He's convinced the only way is through rebellion, with him at the head. He's shaken and dismayed at this turn of events, but feels it's the only way to get back to Jorsk - which may be overrun, for all he knows.


As they get nearer to Jorsk, it looks as if it's intact; but what of the people? What of the political mechinations that were already in place when Devlin left?

And will Devlin get to see the king, giving the heave-ho to those political mechinations?

So, What's Your Take?

This third book in the series is very brutal; scenes of torture abound (magical and physical). The magical torture affects Devlin's mind, and is even worse than the physical torture (which is bad enough). At one point, he despairs so much, that his anger and hurt overwhelm him so that he can escape; such is the case when his emotions are strong.

A well-done ending to what came before, if maybe a tad overdone on the torture scenes. Again, Devlin comes off not as the avenging hero coming to save the kingdom in a blaze of glory; in fact, he's a bit pissed that he can't rake the coals over the king. Not that he wanted to kill him or anything...

Devlin's humanity still shines through, despite all the tortures and murder attempts hurled his way. Devlin's Justice ends on a bittersweet note, at least to me, which kind of reminds me of the ending of The Lord of the Rings.

No, it's not like LOTR in any way, shape, or form; it's just the way it ended wasn't exactly happy and wasn't exactly sad. But it did feel just right.

Grade A: Worth a read, unless torture scenes turn you off completely (they don't take up the entire book, but they linger in the mind).

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck


Devlin's Honor - A Review

Devlin's Honor

Publisher: Spectra
416 pages

This is the second book in the Sword of Change series. To read my take on the first book, Devlin's Luck, go here.


Devlin is now a very much alive Chosen One, the Kingdom of Jorsk's champion, which means he will defend the city to the death, if necessary.

Many people in Jorsk now believe that if he were truly annointed by the gods, the gods would have given him a sword out of legend: the Sword of Light.

The irony of it all is that now Devlin must go back to Duncaer. Not only is it his home, but it was also conquered by the very people he's now sworn to protect.

Why go back? Because that's where the Sword of Light is - and Devlin knows where in Duncaer it's located.

The sword was found on the battlefield after the Caerfolk's defeat, kept as a souvenir. And because he's been bound, by magic (the Geas) and by the King to retrieve the sword, he has no choice but to return to the people who cast him out.

He has no doubt that he'll face their wrath and indifference - if he gets that far. For Devlin has no doubts that there are people who will try to keep him from getting that sword, for their own nefarious reasons...

So, What Did You Think?

Many times, the middle book of a series can be a bit of a letdown. Not so here. I felt that this was even better than the first book.

We get taken more into Devlin's mind, his feelings, in this book. After all, he's returning home, and he's not going to feel too welcome there. Plus, he comes down with some sort of sickness that zaps not only his physical strength but his mental strength, which was already suspect.

Thus we're drawn into some of his dark dreams...and this was almost too much for me to take. Almost. Because, dear friends, I was reminded of some personal stuff (related to a loved one), and it seemed as if I were reliving a lot of that hell.

Thank goodness it's a book.

**spoiler** He does make it to Duncaer, although there is an attempt on his life. Two swordsmen go after him, but they kill themselves before they can be questioned as to whom they work for, etc.

Now, whom do they work for? Devlin and his little band find out not long after getting to Duncaer.

The ending was pretty good, and leads right into the third book of the series, Devlin's Justice. Yes, loose ends are wrapped up, but the locale has to shift elsewhere...

Mwahaha! (Sorry for the melodrama. ;-))

Grade A - worth reading. The darkness in this book felt just right, if a bit over and beyond what I'm used to (but that's because of my personal stuff, so take that with a grain of salt).

I'll have that review up in a couple of days.

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck


A Contest - Yippee!

The Knight Agency is having a contest.

You can find all the details here. It's called Book in a Nutshell, and you have until April 20, 2009 (hubby's bday) to condense your book into three sentences, max of 150 words.

And, yes, spec fic will be looked at (that's fantasy, SF, and horror to those who don't know what speculative fiction encompasses), as well as other genres. But check out the website to see if they rep what you write.

If your novel is complete, why not go for it? If I can manage to finish up the last few chapters (I'm on 18 and chugging along!) and re-do the opening chapter by then...I'll give it a shot.

Good luck! :-)

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck


Further News About Absolute Write

It's still down as of 3:15pm Eastern U.S. time. According to MacAllister (she runs it), the database was "hosed." (That's an exact quote, friends.)

If you're in AW withdrawal, you can try the AW Refugee Camp. You'll have to register first, but it's free. And be gracious, because Roger Carlson is running this refugee forum, to which I say, THANK YOU.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck

Absolute Write Is Down

Don't know why, but the entire site is down, as I'm writing this.

There's a sister site, and even when I went onto that site, I couldn't register. I remembered my user name, and I thought I had the correct password, but get this: When I tried to get the password sent to my email addy, it didn't recognize the addy!

I've been on that site on a regular basis for about 4 years (yikes!).

What a mess.

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck

I Wonder If This Is Going to Hurt Amazon In Any Way...

Amazon is being sued over their E-reader, the Kindle.

Publishers Lunch has it summed up:

Discovery Communications filed a patent suit against Amazon.com in Federal court in Delaware, alleging that the Kindle and the ways in which Amazon sells and delivers documents to the device infringes a patent filed for in 1999 and awarded in November 2007 for an "Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System." Discovery general counsel Joseph A. LaSala, Jr. says in the announcement, "The Kindle and Kindle 2 are important and popular content delivery systems. We believe they infringe our intellectual property rights, and that we are entitled to fair compensation."

A Discovery spokesperson underscores that they do not want an injunction to stop sales of Kindle--they just want compensation. (It's not clear from accounts so far why they have not sued Sony and other vendors as well.) So far Amazon has not commented on the suit.

The release reminds readers that "Discovery Communications and [founder] John S. Hendricks were significant players in the development of digital content and delivery services in the 1990's. Hendricks' work included inventions of a secure, encrypted system for the selection, transmission, and sale of electronic books."

Cnet reports that "Hendricks is a bit of an inventor. In the 1990s, Hendricks tried his hand at coming up with systems to digitize content. He explored technologies involving the digitization of TV content as well as e-book systems. In 2004, he sold the TV patents but Discovery kept the e-reader patents."

I'd actually heard some good things about this latest version of the Kindle; I'd even considered putting up one of those ad thingies from Amazon (I am an associate, after all :-)), but now I wonder if it's worth it.

Not that I think anything's going to come from this soon; I've worked in a couple of legal departments now, and if anything, it's that time moves verrrry sloooowly in the legal realm. (I have other, personal experience in the courts system, too.)

I just wonder how (whether? if?) this is going to impact Amazon. Will they spend a ton of money defending themselves (lawyers ain't cheap, as I know all too well) so that they're operating on very thin margins? Or maybe they'll end up paring down their wares; goodbye books/ebooks? (Probably not. And this is all speculation.)

What do you think? Any thoughts as to what, if any, this will do to Amazon's bottom line?

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck


Pub News Roundup

Yeow - didn't realize how long it'd been since I last posted; hopefully, I'll be rectifying that starting this week (with this post, naturally).

All info is from Publishers Lunch.

On the Agent Front

Rebecca Gradinger has left Janklow & Nesbit Associates and launched Finchley Road Literary, a boutique agency specializing in literary fiction, up-market commercial fiction, narrative non-fiction, memoir, humor and pop culture. (She has also worked as a scout at Mary Anne Thompson Associates and a lawyer practicing media and intellectual property law at Frankfurt Garbus Kurnit Klein & Selz).

I couldn't find a website, but since this is pretty new, I didn't think I would. However, there is a Publishers Marketplace (PM) listing here (which of course I can't gain access to at work; as if it's porn or something ;-)).

Agent Eric Simonoff is leaving Janklow & Nesbit after 18 years to join William Morris. He will take all of his clients with him.

Hmm. This one was reported before Ms. Gradinger's decision to leave. Don't know if that means anything, but interesting nonetheless.

Paul Rodeen has left Sterling Lord Literistic to establish Rodeen Literary Management, still based in Chicago and continuing to focus on children's book authors and illustrators.

Pubbed Authors

Audrey Niffenegger's HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY, "a delicious and deadly twenty-first-century ghost story about her familiar themes of love, loss and identity," to Nan Graham at Scribner, at auction, for publication on September 29, 2009, by Joe Regal at Regal Literary (US).

What's interesting to me is that although this is a ghost story, PL put this under the heading of "General/Other." Hunh? What, is "fantasy" a dirty word right now? Or is PL or the people reporting this confused? (FYI, Niffenegger wrote "The Time Traveler's Wife" a few years ago, which I still haven't read as yet. Maybe I will; it's in my Wish List, and, no, that's not a hint. :-))

Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck


Goblin War - A Review

Goblin War

Publisher: DAW
352 pages

This is a long time in coming, but let me tell you, this installment of the Jig series is just as much fun as the other two were.

All is fine for Jig Dragonslayer for a little while, until he and over-the-top follower of Tymolous Shadowstar, Relka, are pressed into service when the humans (yet again) attack the mountain. Seems they want to get the Rod of Creation back, but first Princess Genevieve, sister of the two jerk adventurers from his first adventure, must bring the goblins to a little town away from the mountain, to mount a stand against the evil elves and who-knows-what-else in the area.

A goblin warrior, Trok, and other warriors come along for what they consider a fun time; Jig wants no part of it, but has no choice; Relka willingly comes along, because she believes Shadowstar wants her to do this.
My Impressions

There are a couple of races that should be familiar to Tolkien fans - elves and orcs - but what Mr. Hines does with them will make you snort or giggle (or, if you're of the snooty type, maybe a soft "haw-haw"). The leader of the orcs is Billa the Bloody, and because of Jig's tightness with Shadowstar, he's in on the scoop as to why Billa and her ragtag but fierce bunch of warriors are having it out with the humans...

...and she doesn't care who they kill, to the point where she wants all of her troops killed.

But you'll have to read the story to find out just exactly why.

Nice touches are the reminisces of Shadowstar, from when he was hiding from his son and his wife, and the lengths he went to to keep hidden. Even in these little vignettes, which last no longer than a page or a page and a half, there's plenty of humor, and it nicely fills in some questions I had about Shadowstar, one of the Forgotten Gods.

Darnak the Dwarf reappears here (no longer a bird), and Braf makes a brief appearance, too.

At the End

There's more magic and mayhem and foolishness to be had, and the ending, although a bittersweet one for Shadowstar (just like Return of the King), is just right and makes perfect sense; it wraps up everything before it.

But it's not all sadness at the end: There's a nice little twist of sorts as to how Jig and the humans come to peace. Not one that I saw coming, but goofy just the same (and again, it makes sense, considering the goblins are dealing with humans, for goodness sake!).

Definitely worth reading when you're ready to get away from some of that really dark stuff you've been reading.

But make sure you start with the first two installments before you get to this one, or you'll be wondering what the heck is going on. The review for Goblin Quest is here; the review for Goblin Hero is here.


Love and kisses,

~Nancy Beck