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  • Writer's pictureMichael Sauls

Indie Talk April 2022

I decided that I would like to discuss the works of some of my fellow independent authors. Independents have an unfortunate stigma associated with them because they did not choose to go through a large publishing company. The reasons for taking this path are too many to discuss here, but I want to dispel some of those concerns readers have about giving an independent a chance. While it is true that some independents have put out less than stellar reading material, there are many great authors that you will not want to miss.

So today, I urge you to give David Benem, author of What Remains of Heroes, a chance. Readers will find themselves in the magical kingdom of Rune. The main character, a man called Lannick, used to be a respected hero but is now an alcoholic that can barely scrape together enough money to buy wine.

The blurb is misleading. The book sounds like an anti-hero fantasy describing how someone murdered Lannick's family a decade ago. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in alcohol until some unlikely events allow Lannick a chance at avenging his wife and children. The actual story is something entirely different.

This author's writing is superb, and the story is dark and gritty. But the actual plot is about the kingdom of Rune, where Lannick lives, and the church of Illiene, which is the state religion. During the time of trouble, the high king founded the kingdom of Rune and the church. The domain has experienced many years of peace and has become rife with corruption and decay. Now foreign enemies are moving on many fronts, and the nation is on the brink of war.

There are a lot of characters in this book with arcs that intersect nicely with the story arc of Lannick. The story gives multiple points of view, including the MC, a scholar named Zandrachus, and an assassin named Fencress. One drawback of this story is that there is no real hero for readers to like. All of the characters are deeply flawed to the point of being unlikeable. While a good story needs its hero to be inadequate, these characters never transform into better versions of themselves.

As I mentioned before, the story isn't really about them. It is really about the situation in the kingdom and the machinations of Rune's enemies. The kingdom has become weak, and opportunists want to take advantage of their dire situation. The three characters mentioned above tell the story of these kingdom-changing events as they unfold.

So if you enjoy a dark, gritty fantasy set in a cruel world, give What Remains of Heroes a shot. You can find it on amazon.

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