Friday, November 26, 2010

Serpent's Quest, by Janrae Frank

An Epic Adventure
Masterfully Written

Janrae Frank is an impressive writer whose skill at world building and character building is first rate.  Her plot is as tightly woven as braided hair and her prose is rich and evocative.  The tragic scope of her plot is at times enough to take your breath away.

But it is the easy mastery with which she reveals her characters that is the most rewarding feature of this compelling novel.  The struggle between the lycans and sa'naceri (vampires) she weaves is both detailed and tension filled.

Serpent's Quest is the first fantasy novel I ever read, and it impressed me so much I now understand what I have been missing all these years.  Here is the publisher's plot synopsis:

"Red Wolf was the strongest of the Nine Great Chiefdoms of the lycan clans, which had long suffered under the yoke of the blood-drinking sa'necari necromancers. Thirty years ago, the realm of the sa'necari, Waejontor, was conquered by the amazon nation, Shaurone. The Sharani brought the lycan people three decades of peace and freedom that is now threatened by the sudden rise to power of a young Waejontori Queen.

"Clan Redhand, the family that rules Red Wolf, is plunged into danger when a sa'necari bounty hunter and mercenary named Malthus Estrobian arrives in their valley, posing as a human refugee from the battles beyond their borders. Unknown to them, Malthus is the Butchering Serpent, the genocidal mastermind behind the hidden laboratories where hundreds of lycans perished in vicious experiments. He infilitrates Red Wolf with two goals in mind: find out what happened to his brother, Troyes, who disappeared in the valley several years ago; and destroy the Redhand family in order to subjugate Red Wolf for his queen.

The only person standing between Malthus and his objectives is a young guardsman with a concealed heritage: Kynyr Maguire. Trained by the greatest armsmaster the lycans have ever known, and educated well beyond the norm for his kind, Kynyr must find a way to defeat the dark arts of the Butchering Serpent or see his people destroyed, including the woman he loves."

What the synopsis does not convey, but that I strongly urge you to experience is the electric tension she builds between the events, the characters and the reader's expections.

There is only one problem I see with this novel, and it is that reading it made me want to improve my own writing. 

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Nevine said...

An intriguing review, Rick. And I've come to trust your opinion, because you know good writing... and because... you are a good writer.

Ironically, I am here with some heaviness of heart, tonight. I regret to say it but... I have been plagiarized. I can hardly believe it. I discovered it this morning. A poem of mine was posted on another blogger's blog. Shameful! And I've left her two comments asking her to remove the posting. But she hasn't done that yet, nor has she removed my two comments. I'm assuming she hasn't seen them, yet. Hasty to post something that's stolen, not so hasty to read commentary about what's not hers. At any rate, I will be posting about it tomorrow morning. And I will be linking to you, mentioning your blogposts about plagiarism, if you don't mind of course. If you do mind, please do let me know. I will check back for a reply in your comments.

I'm incredulous! Why? I don't get it. Incredulous... and angry as hell!

Anyhow, I'll leave it at that. Your comment space is not my ranting space. But, thank you for all the tools you put out there about how to catch a plagiarist. Let me tell you, Rick... they helped!


Rick said...

This is what I was worried about, Nevine. You are such an exquisite writer that I was afraid you'd be plagiarized. This makes me very angry, and I know the other bloggers will rally to your defense as well.

If you will send me the details, I'll post about it here and on Plagiarism Watchfires as well. We have to stick together on this.

And of course you can link to my blogposts. I'll do anything I can do help you including emailing the person responsible.

May I also suggest you contact Janrae Franks of Daverana Enterprises and Charles Gramlich? We're a creative community and we can't tolerate plagiarism. I'm so sorry this happened to you.

Also, if you're a member of the National Writers Union (, I'd contact them as well. They are a marvelous support organization with a grievance committe to support their members.

Laughingwolf and ANNA-LYS should know write away to and B Thoughtful ( We'll all help you on this. You're a wonderful writer and we'll stick up for your rights.

Nevine said...

Rick, I can't thank you enough for your support. I really really appreciate it. As it is, this person is a young kid... a teenager, it seems. And that's why I've alerted her and I'm giving her a chance to fix what she's done. I will post about this on my blog... also to let others know that I'm keeping my eyes open. I immediately went to my stats counter and I was quite surprised at what I found. I rarely check my stats, but when I finally did, I found quite a few people who go through my entire archive... quite alarming. I'd be flattered if I thought they were reading, but I don't think that's the case.

At any rate, I don't want to make a huge stink out of this. I'm hoping she will cease and desist. But we'll see how it goes with her. And, if she doesn't delete my poem from her blog, I will most definitely go further. I'm giving her until tomorrow morning. She's so ditzy she hasn't even checked her comments, because she hasn't deleted the two nasty comments I've left her. A child! But that doesn't excuse her. I took a snapshot of her blog with her posting of my poem and my two comments. I intend to expose her entirely on my blog if she doesn't delete it. If she does, I will still post about it, but will remove her identity from the snapshot. It's sad that we have to negotiate with someone who stole from us. But, I am a teacher, and I know that kids sometimes fall into this sort of trap because they don't think before they act. Maybe I am being too nice. But... we will see.

Again, Rick, I really thank you for your support. I'll be posting in the morning. Thanks for allowing me to link to you.


Rick said...

Nevine, if you'll email me I'll send you one of the tools we use for snagging plagiarists. And, I'm sorry to say, I think you'll find that there is more going on with your work because of the beauty of it.

Charles Gramlich said...

sounds intriguing. I'll check it out.

Rick said...

She's a fine writer, Charles. You won't regret reading her work.

Travis Cody said...

I'm a long time reader of fantasy fiction. The story synopsis for this book sounds intriguing. And your emphasis on Ms Frank's skill at building character also makes the book attractive to me. I've put this one on my list to check out.

Thanks for the recommendation.

I know what you mean about a writer making you want to improve your writing. I'm reading the St Cyr novels on Charles' recommendation, and Ms Harris' facility with dialogue and setting makes me want to work harder at those skills.

Rick said...

The word "pro" comes to mind when I read Janrae's work, Travis. And I'm going to take Charles' recommendation as well and run with it.

Lauren said...

Interesting! I was looking for a good end-of-the-year read and I think you've located it for me :) Sounds like a bit of a change to the typical vampire/werewolf tales.

Rick said...

It is, Lauren. Woth the read and almost like a how-to-primer on how to write well.

Melissa said...

Sounds's really interesting. I'll have to pick this one up for sure. Thanks for sharing!

You're review makes it sound very good. And the language you use to describe the book is excellent.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Rick said...

Let me know you like it, will you Melissa? And your blog was a pleasure to stop by!

babYpose said...

Hi Rick The Writer, Serpents's Quest, by Janrae Frank's post took me away from my real world at least. Thanks so much for coming by and wrote nice words on my blog. Love it :)

Rick said...

You have a great blog, babYpose. I have to come by more often. The amount of work I've been through fighting the plagiarist David Boyer has left me too little time for BlogWalking!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out.

Akasha Savage. said...

Good review Rick. I agree with you; whenever I read a good book I doubt my own talent...see my blog.

Rick said...

I believe you'll enjoy it, Christine. Good reading!

Rick said...

Hi Akasha- you've been busy, haven't you!? And yep, I'll be on by your blog.

Lana Gramlich said...

Sounds really interesting!
(BTW, did you get the e-mail I sent you a few days ago about the logo?)

Rick said...

Morning, Lana! Been on the road most hours of the day for the last few weeks and haven't seen all my email yet (I'm running a few bricks short of a load, timewise) but will be looking at everything after lunch. If I didn't have people helping me, I'd never catch up. I realize now why my father told me "have to be crazy" to own and run a business. So anyway, be back in touch this afternoon!