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6 April 2014

Under the Dragon's Claw
Alex George
Publication Date
11 Jan 2014

From Amazon:

Dragons rule the skies over the western realms. In the bowels of the mountains, beneath Brakkand's Throne, lurk Ogres and trolls, tall as the Emerald Forest sacred oaks, with groping claws and sharpened fangs. Theo, a mere sorcerer's apprentice must face them all. To his will must bow Varwarker, Red Dragon Drake, favourite of the Warlock, Zarzbudin. For Theo has pledged to free Adelayne, Princess of Alcavia, descendant of the Shields of Alcavia, the elite group of Dragon Striders sworn to protect the kingdom at all costs.

Archon Thendelin, High Mage of Aldorn, has been tasked by King Aldorn, Overlord of the Midlands, to succeed in his clandestine mission, no matter the cost, for all are expendable for this greater cause. Theo can be of service to the High King...and the Council of Light. Just as his father before him, he will inadvertently be drawn into a web of deceit where foes cannot be parried with the sword or the gift.

A shadow has fallen on the land and the time has come for brave hearts to take a stand. Theo will be aided by his tenacious sister, Serilia, and his steadfast friend, Nem. Their combined efforts must hold the tide that threatens to destroy their world.

This book is Part 1 of the Heartstone Talisman Series by Alex George where he introduces us to the world of Thalagia. If you are a fantasy fan you are in for a fantastic ride. If you don't usually read this genre and want to give it a try, this is the book. But be prepared for some time investment , this is not a quick, one evening read but you need to emerge yourself into the story and characters due to the length of the book and the complexity and number of characters. 

Theo's life with his parents is thrown into turmoil when the big sorcerer Archon comes to see him and his family. He will go on a journey with the sorcerer and become his apprentice, learning valuable skills as the different kingdoms in Thalagia are being threatened by a dark force trying to take over. Dragons, dwarfs, nymphs, ogres and other fantastic creatures will stand by his side or fight against him and his family and friends. He will meet the love of his life, Adelayne, a King's daughter, but is he the right one for her…after all, he is only a commoner. And than Adelayne gets abducted by the Dragon Lord and Theo will face to struggle to even get close to her again. Adelayne herself is a warrior and does not get easily defeated. 

I think the author has created some wonderful characters here in this fantasy world. I like Theo because he is not your 'all powerful' hero, but in fact, it takes him a long time to realise he 'has the gift' and it is even more difficult for him to use it. Even than, it is not the case here as so often in some similar books where the fight seems to be lost and than the hero comes along, waves his sword around and all is won. No, the stories and battles are realistic. The author also has a real gift for describing characters and scenes which build up in front of your eyes (especially important for a fantasy novel - probably isn't so important when you have to describe a scene in NYC). My favourite character has to be Roxette, the mountain nymph. Without giving too much away, I can say that 'I was right about her all along!' 

The cover is absolutely beautiful, it is a shame that we can't see it on Kindle… I mean, only if we scroll to that page. Would love to see it in front of the book all the time. There is a map of Thalagia provided at the beginning of the book. I also think it would be a good idea to maybe have a list of all the characters and their connections / relationships, especially as it is a series and there are quite a few characters which I had problems with distinguishing at the beginning. Having said that, you will become acquainted with the 'main players' within a few chapters. 

I can see this becoming a movie series - you've heard it here first. 

Book received from the author in return for an honest review.

About the author:
Alex George lives with his wife and two children in the historic Mediterranean island of Cyprus from which he draws his inspiration for his books. He is a University of London graduate now fully devoted to his writing. You can learn more about the world of Thalagia and the Heartstone Talisman series by visiting: