You should be Geeking Hweilan
Highwatch has never been taken. The fortress has sat, undisturbed for over a century, high above Narfell’s frozen plains. The line of the High Warden runs unbroken down to his seventeen-year-old granddaughter, Hweilan. It is a place of peace in the wilderness.
If a book stopped there we’d all be quite bored. You need conflict to make a story interesting. Luckily for us, the reader, Guric, the foster son of the High Warden, makes a pact with an ancient, evil spirit to resurrect his wife. The price is his family’s blood. Highwatch falls in less than a day and the line of the High Warden is broken.
The High Warden line doesn’t find this lucky at all.
Hweilan, daughter of the High Warden and princess of Highwatch, escapes with little more than her father’s unstrung bow in hand and her heart full of vengeance. Although vengeance isn’t a valid form of currency in the material plane, it is for ancient spirits. On the run and looking for revenge, Hweilan makes her own pact with Nendawen, the Master of the Hunt, and primal spirit of the shapechanging Vil Adanrath. This is the story of Hweilan and the Chosen of Nendawen series by Mark Sehestedt.
As I have said in previous reviews I am a huge fan of the Forgotten Realms series (I have on numerous occasion applied for Faerun citizen ship but have been rejected due to only speaking one language, if I spoke Dwarven or Elven I would have gotten in.) but not all the books are good. Some are good, some are bad and some are exceptional. This series thankfully falls under the exceptional category.
The writing of Mark Sehestedt is vivid and fluid the chilling fall of Highwatch graphically told and illustrated through his pages. His story is strong and his characters stronger. The trials and tribulations we follow of these souls are not just single dimension characters lifted from some campaign or adventure, these are fully flesh out literary characters, some of the best I have ever witnessed in fantasy.
Hweilan herself isn’t a perfect warrior either. In the opening book she is nearly skill less. She cannot fight, save for a lucky shot with a knife, and is visibly shaken with every life loss before her. She is a girl who essentially knows how to camp and run. Trying to outrun her hunters, she stumbles into the darkness and left with little choice but to make a pact to survive.
In the second and third books out heroine take to the DND way, training and becoming of of 4th edition new classes, the Seeker. This primal-powered archer is a combination of a druid and a ranger all rolled into one. WOTC publishing is embracing the 4th edition Faerun world entirely, they have since the edition’s launch, and with books like this the world, which took a century leap forward at launch, are finally getting fleshed out like t he edition before it. It’s books like these that not only bring more light to advertised planes like the Feywild but also shine light on world changing events like the spellplague and its lasting effect with Sehestedt’s villainous Shaman born with a spellscars.
This series, one of the best all through the Forgotten Realms history, elevates Mark Sehestedt to one of the hottest new talent in Faerun. With a solid follow up series Sehestedt could easily be placed on par with Elaine Cunningham, R.A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, and Richard Lee Byers.
If you like this:
- Songs and Swords Series – Elaine Cunningham
- The Year of the Rogue Dragons Series – Richard Lee Byers
- The Last Mythal Series – Richard Baker
- The Legend of Drizzt Series – R. A. Salvatore