Marshall Ryan Maresca
The Way of the Shield
Dayne has the highest respect for the order he’s joined, the Tarians. The Tarian warriors adhere to a chivalrous code of honor, though they live in a time period vaguely suggestive of post-Renaissance Europe during the Age of Discovery. When Dayne, a Candidate, returns to the order’s home in the city of Maradaine, he finds events of the past year prevent him from advancing to the level of Adept. Despite Dayne’s best effort, the boy he was to rescue from a criminal’s trap died when Dayne failed to protect him. Now the boy’s relatives are determined to block his ascent in the Tarian order, which means that Dayne will not be allowed to stay for good.
Though Dayne is saddened about his pending departure, he still takes the way of the shield and sword seriously. The shield, which appears in the title of the book, symbolizes protection, while the sword should only be drawn as a last resort. Dayne believes that protecting lives doesn’t mean taking other lives, though he is always willing to sacrifice himself, if needed.
His ideals will be challenged as he is drawn into events orchestrated by a conspiracy featuring ten masked men and women, most of them highly placed. What appears at first to be a movement to give more power to the commoners is actually a secret conspiracy to replace the King and achieve new alliances in the Parliament to further the aims of the Traditionalist Party, the political arm of the nobility. The plot is set into motion through pawns that are unaware of the true goal.
As Dayne rushes forth, despite the Tarian Grandmaster’s injunction, to save the day, he’s helped by another Candidate, Jerinne, as well as the daughter of his lordly sponsor, the Lady Mirianne, and an assortment of politically-radicalized writers.
Gabrielle Mathieu is the author of the historical fantasy Falcon series and the upcoming epic fantasy, Girl of Fire. She blogs about travel and her books at http://gabriellemathieu.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor.