Voted #35 of 50 Self-Published books Worth Reading 2016. Book Four in The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam. Having bested beast, man, and even his own failings, King Bewilliam has regained his throne, reunited with his sons, and restored his embattled kingdom, yet something is lacking. When a crippling famine threatens the Chalklands’ very survival, his vassals propose a risky plan to seek aid from a distant ruler. King Bewilliam strikes off on a perilous journey to the island empire of Sea Gate accompanied by a cadre of loyal knights and nobles who are unaware that the plan will reunite the king with a spurned lover.
I've been reading this epic fantasy series since the beginning, and book #4, The Redoubt, is a fine-tuned and spectacular addition to King Bewilliam's story.
Firstly, I love the harsh but descriptive opening with Bewilliam (Robin). A new reader will be able to pick up that he’s seen some fierce battles. There is an intriguing and compelling dynamic between Robin’s sons Conrad (Thaddeus) and Zachary (Dale). I think this really brings out part of Robin's character as well, because he's a king who wants to see his heir be prepared to take his place one day, but must cope with the fact that his sons have their own minds, lives, and desires. This also adds great dimension to the sons because they are not flat characters mindlessly going around saying "Yes, father." Seeing Robin's love and frustration with his sons adds a nice layer of conflict and depth.
The humor in this story is perfect! I also think it’s really interesting that there is the suspicion of someone subtly working magic in the kingdom. I don't blame Robin for his distrust of magic or working magic, considering all that has happened (in the previous books). I think the conflict/sub-conflict of church vs. state is interesting and also logical. Two established forces of power/influence are obviously going to clash from time to time.
I REALLY like Dame Deidre! She reminds me of the female knight, Britomart, from The Faerie Queene. Alexandra is a total badass--need I say more? I think the ending gave great closure with just the hint of possibly more adventures to come. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and the different twists and turns it took. I HATE cookie cutter medieval fantasy, so the Bewilliam series refreshingly takes great characters, intriguing plot, and what I love about fantasy, and crafts an entertaining and thoughtful story.