I love to listen to Baskrod’s stories. He describes warlike men with natural armor who hibernate in rocky caves, and peaceful people who soar through the air in a forest of giant trees. His tales are full of foreboding dreams and ancient prophecies; royal palaces and strange creatures. My brother laughs at me. He says that the old fisherman makes it all up. But everything Baskrod has ever predicted has come true. So I have always believed his stories.
Baskrod appears to have gone mad. He claims that the emperor is sending a murderous horde of evil men to destroy our village. “They will drink your blood!” he yells, wide eyed, while standing in the marketplace waving his trident. He repeatedly begs me to escape with him. But it is harvest time, and I must stay to help my family in the fields. Anyway, the emperor has no reason to turn against us. We pay our tribute.
If only we had listened to Baskrod.
The emperor planned his own harvest. His reapers were ax-wielding horsemen. And they were not harvesting crops. They harvested my people.
Now I am the sole survivor from my village. Baskrod claims that the one god has chosen me. He says I must travel to the distant capital of Tzoladia to save the world. Maybe Baskrod is right. Maybe it is my destiny. But I’m nobody. How can I save the world?
Book 1 of the Tales of Tzoladia series.
A prophetic sign sets events in motion, and three people from different races journey for a common destination, each meeting difficulties along the way. In The Emperor’s Harvest, R. A. Denny reimagines elements from the biblical account of Christ’s birth in a fantasy setting. In this world, normal humans live with people who have feet like ducks, folks who are scaled like lizards, and others who can glide like flying squirrels. Readers might struggle to follow the story’s viewpoint switches, from first-person to third-person and back again. Main characters’ stories become narrative seeds left to germinate into a larger saga of future installments.
Best for: Young adults and older readers.
Discern: Some violence, especially people of certain races being slaughtered for bounty; one final religious ceremony involves duck-people sacrificing other duck-people, and even duck-people men castrating themselves.