Demons of the Past
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Modern civilization has disintegrated.
The technological advances of mankind have flourished beyond expectations and have escaped the controlling hands of the human race. Cloned humans and genetically engineered creatures prowl the lands, pushing the earth over the edge to a third World War.
Four centuries later, the world has regressed to a feudalistic state, unaware of its advanced past. Now, kingdoms live in fear of mutated "demons," of shadowy forests, and of frosts destroying their spring crops. It is a land where only the secret of society's past is known by a select few—and those few seem to have their own agenda on the upcoming successions of thrones.
Nadia, the eldest princess of Damewood, flees for her life after her castle is attacked by an underground cult bent on bringing society back to its "roots." Disguising herself as a knight, she joins a hunting party along with her best friend—a demon horse with his own dark past—to put an end to the massacres and retrieve a stolen key that will unlock the cult's mysteries and the history of her people.
The first in the Damewood Trilogy, Demons of the Past is the story of a young woman from a land that turns its back on the ideas of race, country, and technology, and is thrown into the midst of these issues without warning or protection save her sword and trusty steed.
So with that disclaimer out of the way, here we go....
Modern Civilization has disintegrated and the technological advances of mankind have been suppressed for centuries. Society has regressed to a medieval state, and an ancient ocarina imbued with faery magic is the only thing standing between a civilized society and one overrun with demons. Unfortunately, the secret of society's past is known only to a select few, most of them belonging to a group of radicals known as the Ordi who would very much like to see society brought back to it's technologically enhanced roots, no matter what the consequences.
Damewood is just one of the many kingdoms in the area currently under siege, presumably by the Ordi or another group with a similar agenda. The "bandits" have stolen the magical ocarina, which has been protecting the lands, from the nearby Pearl Isles Kingdom where it was under guard. If it cannot be recovered, and it's magic renewed, then all the demons which have been held in check for the last 400 years may suddenly be unleashed upon the world!
Nadia, the eldest princess of Damewood, has been sent into hiding while her lands are under attack. But being the skilled demon fighter she is, she knows that she'd rather be on the front lines fighting for her kingdom and her people, instead of being tucked safely away doing nothing. Disguising herself as a Knight in full armor, she joins the group of men from the nearby kingdoms on a rescue mission to recover the magical ocarina. But Nadia's got more than one secret to keep. For no one else knows that the big, black, beautiful stallion with the strange, light eyes that she's had since she was a young girl is actually a demon himself! A Kelpie to be exact, who can shapeshift between man and horse. But no matter what Vestro knows (or doesn't know), Nadia's convinced he's not like the other demons. And keeping both of their identities a secret on this mission is going to be as challenging as the road to Ferrington Pass.
This was a fascinating and spell-binding debut novel from new author Erin Durante which I found difficult to put down. I was actually a wee bit disappointed at the end since there wasn't yet a sequel I could pick up immediately and start reading. Though the author has a few short stories to her credit, this is actually her first full length novel, though you'd not know it since she writes with such a seasoned pen.
The pacing of the story was just right, neither rushing along nor dragging things out. I often found time slipping away while reading as I was totally immersed in the world that is Damewood. The lush and vivid descriptions transported me right into the middle of the action and I didn't want to leave.
Though all of the story's major plot lines got wrapped up by the end of the book, things truly come around full circle. And by the time you get to the epilogue, you've got a new twist to look forward to in the sequel. I don't want to give too much away, but suffice to say, the author knew exactly how much to let out, and when to pull back in the telling of this story. And at the end, I was left with my tongue hanging out, panting for more! LOL
For more information on Erin Durante, and the world of Damewood, visit the website: Enter Damewood.
This book is now reserved for krin511, who won it in February's Fantasy Swap at BookObsessed.
BookCrossing journal page for this book
Krin won this in the February Fantasy Swap at BookObsessed. Mailed to her on 4/23/09 via Media Mail.