An Epic Adventure
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.