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It’s here at last: the fifth volume in The Ravenstones series. Death and Life will be released on Amazon next week.
Death and Life picks up the story of our two principal heroes, Eirwen and Fridis, exactly where they left off in Book 4, Gains and Losses. After early successes, significant reversals have occurred. The combined forces of the enemy are on the rise: having pushed the allies back from Ethmot, the Valley of Death, they will soon take the offensive in an attempt to regain lost territory and achieve supremacy. More surprises, more twists and turns are in store. New characters emerge, and some turn out to be not what they seem. And, as the title suggests, sometimes death precedes a new life.
Those who’ve checked out my website will know that each volume has an overall theme. In the case of Book 5, it’s about staying the course in the face of adversity. Naturally there’s much more to be discovered. Fridis continues to explore the mystery of the magic gemstones, which takes her further afield, to new discoveries and into new dangers. Eirwen must keep the allies together in the face of defeat and find ways to hold their own against overwhelming odds. Olwen, aided by Eisa, must work out what the ravens’ messages mean for her destiny. Eisa, having found a home within the allied camp, must risk his life behind enemy lines.
The losses mount on both sides and reinforcements are needed. Conflicts arise in both camps, between friends and foes alike. And in the midst of this conflict the duplicitous fox Vulpé charts his own path amid the rival factions.
Each book cover in this series illustrates a key part of the story. Death and Life shows Fridis and Hunspek high in Heimborn’s mountains, reading Merithu’s manuscript together. The earlier covers portray Eirwen the polar bear and Fridis the eider duck, holding her bag of magic gemstones (Book 1, Eirwen and Fridis); Adarix the wolf and three members of his pack (Book 2, The Invasion of Aeronbed); Olwen the lioness and Eisa the black panther, with the castle of Manaris in the background (Book 3, Olwen and Eisa); and the wolf Ammarich’s dramatic rescue of his brother at Ethmot (Book 4, Gains and Losses). All the covers have been drawn by my terrific illustrator, Kari Rust, and are similar in style and appearance. By the way, the back covers also depict scenes found in that particular volume (see theravenstones.com and my post of January 2, 2021, for more details).
I hope you enjoy the evolving adventure and look forward to getting your feedback.