by Lela Markham
A healer must mend a fractured kingdom and bring two enemy races together before a greater enemy destroys them both.
Fate took Prince Maryn by surprise, leaving Celdrya to tear itself apart. A century later an army amasses against the warring remains of the kingdom as prophesy sends a half-elven healer on a journey to find the nameless True King. Padraig lacks the power to put the True King on the throne, yet compelled by forces greater than himself, Padraig contends with dark mages, Celtic goddesses, human factions and the ancient animosities of two peoples while seeking a myth. With all that distraction, a man might meet the True King and not recognize him.
“In a time when so much fantasy being published is grim and dark, it’s refreshing to find a book that returns to the beauty of high fantasy, with lyrical prose and an alternate history take on old Celtic tales but blended with mythical creatures such as dragons and elves.”
“Engrossing and thrilling.”
“A beautiful fantasy novel with solid bones and depth, The Willow Branch took hold of my mind and encompassed me.”
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
CIR: What message do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
MARKHAM: This is not a strictly Christian book series, but I hope the overall message is great evil exists in the world, but it can be overcome with faith in God. That is an underlying theme in all my writing.
CIR: What is the hardest part of writing this story?
MARKHAM: Keeping all the threads gathered and headed in the right direction. Daermad Cycle is a complicated story with a world-wide reach, but that’s the nature of an epic fantasy, so it’s also highly rewarding to herd the fantasy cats.
CIR: Is there any content that some readers might find questionable despite the overall “clean” feel of the book?
MARKHAM: I believe in depicting a realistic world while not bludgeoning readers with the images in my head. I reference sex and violence without detailed description and run it by alpha and beta readers to eliminate flinches, but I can’t realistically avoid all mention of evil because an epic fantasy is all about good and the evil it is contrasted against.
CIR: Is there more coming?
MARKHAM: Yes. Daermad Cycle is a series, originally planned to be five books, but looking like it might be longer. Mirklin Wood publishes March 15, 2016. Fount of Dreams (book 3) is planned for publication sometime in 2017.