Times of great trouble seem to be tantamount in every time and place, a time of great peace often followed by a time of peril — and so it goes, time after time, in place after place.
In Eternal Knight by Matt Heppe, we meet a young huntress of Landomere. Sworn to protect her people and her land, Hadde holds little hope due to the wasting. Many are ill and dying, the land is parched and food is hard to find. There is bitterness and despair. After finding herself in a strange dream state during one of her hunts, she stumbles upon a magic pendant. Is this a gift from the gods? Can she sell the golden pendent and feed her people for a time? With the wasting continuing to create havoc with the land and its people, Hadde sets out with Belor another of the hunters, to seek help from the Kingdom of Salador.
Attacked not long after they leave their land by strange silver-eyed warriors they are wary yet resolute. To save their people and their way of life they must reach Salador. The attack is silent and deadly, Hadde and Belor fight their way free, but not for long. Belor is mortally injured and Hadde is near capture when rescue appears, in the form of Knights of Salador. She is not sure how to react to these men, women in their kingdom are not allowed to wear armor and she appears to be an embarrassment to them. She is extremely agile with a bow, better than her rescuers, yet her weapons are removed. One knight, Earl Waltas, takes delight in belittling her.
When they reach Salador, she is treated a bit unkindly. No one seems to understand her or her people. She is a huntress, a protector and yet not given the respect of her position. She tries desperately to fit in so that she can get the help of the king. Befriended by the king’s brother, Morin he understands her confusion. Even in her short time in Salador, she has made enemies. When Morin is sent on a quest to retrieve the Orb of Creation, she is along for the ride. There is fear that she could bring about the end of the kingdom and it is in her best interest to depart the kingdom and its people.
The quest if fraught with danger and the silver-eyed warriors appear to be increasing. The Orb of creation is the only way to salvation of their lands. Can Hadde and Prince Morin find the Orb in time? Is it really the salvation of their times? The wasting is growing and yet it appears that there could be a correlation between that horror and the Orb.
Heppe has done a great job of building a world on the edge. The wasting is a plague on the place and its people and he makes you feel the despair and hopelessness of the people. The differences in their cultures are well written and interesting. There is a great distance between the areas, and the Saladorans seem quite unaware of the culture of the clan of people from Landomere. They were not aware that a woman could be a Huntress as well and a protector, it is so very different from their own beliefs of what women should be. While some of the cruelness is from ignorance, Heppe does a great job of fleshing out the villains. Hadde is a wonderful protagonist and both brave and a bit ingenuous.
The story is full of action and adventure, and some very interesting bits of magic. If you enjoy epic stories of warriors and adventure, you will certainly find your fill here. The story is quick and energetic, full of bold and courageous characters. I would recommend this for those that enjoy this genre and I look forward to more from this author.