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The Keep in the Marsh

Thomas never imagined that, at only seventeen, he’d end up on his own and traveling an unfamiliar path. But, of course, he never imagined a plague coming and killing nearly his entire village, including his parents, either. Striking out in a different direction than the other survivors, Thomas soon comes across trouble and a group of adventurers needing guidance. But, as he and his new friends find themselves formulating a plan in the hopes of finding untold riches, they all realize that there is a lot to learn about themselves and the world.

The Keep in the Marsh: Escaping Dragons Book 1 is the first in a planned series of fantasy adventure books by Neil O’Donnell. O’Donnell’s worldbuilding is well-thought-out, with the various intricately detailed villages, an eclectic assortment of inhabitants, and a group of heroes that will instantly be familiar to anyone who has ever played a DnD campaign.

Much of the book is dedicated to the introduction and character development of its five main characters, with the occasional fight scene to help create conflict. Despite following a well-traveled road, the story stays fresh and keeps the characters interesting, doing well to avoid obvious tropes with some of them.

For the most part, the adventure faced by Thomas, Haley, Sully, Siegfried, and Jeffrey is relatively tame, falling in line with what one could expect to deal with in such a situation. By the end, however, things have escalated quickly, setting up a second book that promises to hit the ground running.

In line with the general adventuring themes, this novel explores the ideas of friendship, trust, and finding yourself. As the book goes on, each character grows up and pushes themselves beyond any previous experience, at times out of necessity. As their “leader,” Thomas seems at times much older than his years with his knowledge and ability to survive. However, he realizes that there are things even he can learn along the way. 

I enjoyed every bit of this book! The familiar narrative was comforting, and nothing about it felt repetitive or overdone. The last part of the book is exciting and will shock readers, leaving them waiting for the next installment of the series.

The Keep in the Marsh is a rousing epic fantasy that is sure to capture readers’ attention with an exciting adventure and memorable cast of characters. This thrilling novel takes readers on an epic journey into a new fantasy world where they might just end up fighting a dragon.

Pages: 147 | ASIN : B09VK75V3D

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