The past few years have not been kind to Rhys MacDuffy, the outcast known among his former kin as the Mountain Baron. And when the people who turned him out now seek him out, asking him for help? Well, you can be sure the future ain’t promising to make his life any better anytime soon.
Oath of the Outcast is an intricate story, following a man who is essentially an outlaw as he is called back into a society that had rejected him and faces people for whom he has no reason to feel any fondness. And even worse, Rhys finds himself facing something stranger and more dangerous than he could have imagined: the power behind the druid priests who kidnapped one of the few people he still cares about.
Although C. M. Banschbach’s novel is set in a fictional universe, it has a very real-world feel. Personal conflicts whirl between multiple levels of political ambition, while above all looms the threat of great armies going to war against each other. Yet the narrative remains focused on the small scale, with various characters going to great lengths to protect and rescue those they love.
Along with his rejection of those who rejected him, Rhys in his anger and bitterness has also rejected God—called Ilan in this story-world—and Rhys sees all religions as little better than superstitions. His encounters with the druids’ power may change his views, although that’s something for the series to reveal in future installments.
Oath of the Outcast bursts with brawn and brains, providing plenty of action while leaving the reader with questions to ponder. It’s a fantastic opening to the Dragon Keep Chronicles series.
Best for: Young adults and older.
Discern: One character’s prophetic gift–like ability, which manifests as fragmented visions and out-of-body experiences, could confuse anyone who is curious about biblical prophets and how they received messages from God.