Once Second Prince of the mightiest kingdom in the known world, Othrun now leads the last survivors of his exiled people into an uncertain future far across the Shimmering Sea from their ancestral home, now lost beneath the waves. With his Single God binding his knights to chivalric oaths, intent on wiping out idolatry and pagan worship, they will have to carve out a new kingdom on this mysterious continent―a continent that has for centuries been ravaged by warlords competing for supremacy and mages channeling the mystic powers of the elements―and unite the continent under godly rule.
With a troubled past, a cursed sword, and a mysterious spirit guiding him, Othrun means to be that ruler, and conquer all. But with kingdoms fated on the edge of spears, alliances and pagan magic, betrayal, doubt, and dangers await him at every turn. Othrun will be forced to confront the truths of all he believes in on his journey to become a king, and a legend.
When one kingdom drowns, a new one must rise in its place. So begins the saga of that kingdom, and the man who would rule it all.
I was kindly sent a Kindle version of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you very much!
A Drowned Kingdom is written entirely from the perspective of Othrun, Second Prince of the island paradise, Atalantyx, son of King Atalan, The Falcon. Over the course of the first part of the novel Othrun shows himself to be a vain, snobbish bigot. A flawed, yet devout character, who we hope can change during the course of the novel.
Due to the first person perspective we only get to see the other characters through Othrun’s opinionated eyes, so it is difficult to form our own opinions of them. His dislike for his brother colours our feelings towards him; and Erthal’s wife, Dira, is only described in terms of her ability to seduce Erthal, persuade him to become pagan and in Othrun’s eyes bring about the ruin of the island.
The world building in this debut novel is extremely descriptive and very well done. It is clear from his descriptions of the land that Prince Othrun loves his kingdom dearly and misses it terribly when forced to be away. He describes everything in great detail, right down to the seasons and animals, weather and even the smells of his beloved country. The sovereign city of Atalantyx is the Circle City, which, unbeknownst to the majority of its citizens, is built around a dormant volcano, Mount Atalante.
There is a lot of historical detail given in terms of the line of succession and the courtly traditions, such as that of marrying one’s cousin in order to keep the bloodlines pure. The politics of the kingdom are also carefully explained to us by Othrun, in such a clever way that it kept me engaged through what potentially could have been less interesting sections of the story for me.
At the beginning of the main story (there is a prologue), Othrun and his older brother, First Prince Erthal have been sent by their father across the ocean to Norsoon on the continent of Acremia, hoping to plan a strategy for their father to overthrow the kings of the lands of Acremia. Instead Erthal is tricked into falling in love with, and promising to marry the pagan princess Dira in order that she not be sacrificed by her people. This episode shows us how much Othrun hates the heathens who do not worship his Single God. He has never met these foreigners before and does not understand their customs but despises them and longs only to be a part of his father’s plans to overthrow their kings and rule the continent of Acremia.
When Erthal falls in love with the pagan princess, Dira, bigotted Othrun is sickened to the core of his being and drives an immovable wedge between himself and his brother. His brother’s adoption of heathen practices, such as human sacrifice after marrying Dira lead Othrun and his allies to try and overthrow King Atalan and Erthal, his successor. Their failure leads to their banishment from the kingdom and ultimately saves their lives.
An angel appears to Othrun telling him he and his followers must leave the next day and also tells Othrun his father, the king, was actually never his biological father, but rather that the angel had visited his mother on behalf of the Single God and was his true father. Could this be the first sign of madness in Othrun? He himself is not entirely sure. Othrun is someone who certainly has a very high opinion of himself, despite being treated like a nobody by both King Atalan and First Prince Erthal throughout his life!
“He told me I was God’s chosen one. He told me that God directed him to create me, because with Anchali blood in me, I could be greater than other men. He told me that I would have the greatness to conquer all heathens and bring them under one devout king.”Othrun
Thanks to the angel’s warning Othrun and 1800 other Atalanteans set sail the following morning for Eltnia. Much to their horror, as they sail away they witness the eruption of Mount Atalante, followed by an earthquake which splits the island in two, and a tidal wave causing the entire island to sink and everyone upon it to perish.
Othrun is convinced this was an act of his God – destroying the idol worship which had begun to take over the island and saving the 1800 people who worshipped Him. On they go, carried by the tidal wave’s aftermath towards Eltnia. Othrun intends to gradually take over the continent and sees the heathens living there as little better than animals. In his mind he is:
“The great Othrun, come to conquer”Othrun
On the journey, Othrun sees the angel again and has a conversation regarding how he should proceed since his ally, King Wely of Lynchun is being joined in battle by Hor the Horrific of Carthleughe. The angel counsels him to educate the heathens in the way of ‘Combat of Champions’, which he does, and manages to kill the giant Hor and make an invaluable alliance with both Hor’s son King Hert and King Wely. Wely grants Othrun a new kingdom, The Golden Valley, to rule over in exchange for his aid in battle.
On the way to this land the three kings and their armies must overcome temptation from a beautiful mage, political intrigue and double crossing, a battle against an enormous army, a journey through labyrinthine caves, a possibly possessed sword, questioning of religious beliefs and unfriendly weather.
Thankfully all of this adversity and the trustworthy allies he finds in Wely and Hert help Othrun’s character to become less flawed. He develops an understanding and respect for the people he considered heathens and even begins to believe in their elemental magic.
The three kings plan their route hoping to avoid High King Ina’s Nyrimian army on the way to Othrun’s new kingdom. The prose in this section was so well written that even in the parts which had fairly long conversations about how best to grant Othrun a kingdom and the three kings planning their route through the mountains, which could have been somewhat dry, I found my interest was held.
The book ends on something of a cliffhanger and I am looking forward to finding out what happens to the three allied kings and how Othrun and the remaining Atalanteans fare as they try and settle in a new country with different beliefs and customs.
About the Author
Hi everyone! I’m P.L. Stuart! Nice to meet you! I’m a Canadian high fantasy author, of Ghanaian and Barbadian descent. I live in Chatham, Ontario, with my wife Debbie. “A Drowned Kingdom” is the first novel in “The Drowned Kingdom Saga.”
I’m an experienced writer, in that I’ve been writing stories all my life, yet never thought to publish them. I’ve written informally – short stories – to entertain friends and family, for community newspapers, volunteer organization magazines, and of course formal papers for University. Now, later in life, I’ve published what I believe is a great fantasy novel, and definitely worth reading, called “A Drowned Kingdom”.
My target audience is those who enjoy “high fantasy”. “A Drowned Kingdom” is not “dark fantasy”. It’s written in a more idealized and grandiose style that I hope isn’t too preachy, and not too grim.Still, I’m hoping my book has appeal to those who don’t typically read this type of work – those who don’t read fantasy of any kind – because of the “every-person” themes permeating the novel: dysfunctional familial relationships, extramarital temptation, racism, misogyny, catastrophic loss, religion, crisis of faith, elitism, self-confidence, PTSD, and more.
Many of these themes I have either personal experience with, or have friends or family who have dealt with such issues. I’ve had a long professional law enforcement career, undergone traumatic events, yet been buoyed by family, faith, and positivity. I’m a racialized middle-aged man. I’ve seen a lot of life.
Ultimately I want the planned series, of which “A Drowned Kingdom” will be the introduction, to be one of hope, and overcoming obstacles to succeed, which I believe is my story as well.
My protagonist, Othrun, will undergo a journey where he’ll evolve, change, and shape a continent. He’s not always likeable. He’s a snob, bigot, is vain, yet struggles with confidence. He’s patriarchal. Overall, he’s flawed. But even ordinary flawed people can change. We’re all redeemable. Ordinary people can make a difference, not just fictional Princes. I want that message to shine through my work.
I love to engage with readers and the Writing Community! Feel free to message me here on Goodreads if you wish to ask any questions about my writing, or to simply chat fantasy!
I am also active on Twitter! You can speak to me there @plstuartwrites! Take care, and have a wonderful day!