Title: A Change of Rules: The Missing Shield, Episode 1
Author: L.L. Thomsen
In the realm of Ostravah, magic lies broken and forgotten. Now, with the approaching millennium, an ancient strife that has spanned aeons will soon rekindle because the capricious Gods never rest – and they want their dues…
There is not much that Solancei, life-shield and cousin of Princess Iambre, will not do to protect her oldest, dearest friend.
In fact, there is not much that Iambre will not do for her salty-tongued, martial arts-loving cousin either, yet when Solancei finds herself trapped by an unpredictable opponent in an illegal, back-yard duel, little do either young women understand how their golden ideals are about to be tested in ways neither could have conjured up in their darkest nightmares.
Facing hard choices, Solancei must dig deep to extricate herself from a bad situation before it can escalate, but can she escape the trap awaiting her? Iambre is nothing if not a demanding heiress and if Solancei misses their scheduled appointment there could be worse than daggers to pay. Without Solancei’s temperance, the headstrong and spoilt Iambre could well seize the opportunity to renew her indelicate association with Bilan, the Captain of the King’s own Lancers, and Solancei knows this can lead to nothing good. With everything to fight for, the Princess’ life-shield does not realise that this one rainy day will be the first in a world that’s about to be turned upside-down – because destiny and chance are calling, and they will not take ‘no’ for an answer.
When the reader is introduced into the story, we see a Change of Rules unfolding which leaves all the characters in the opening scene uneasy. As the story advances, we are thrusted between the discussions of the Guardians and the memoirs of one of the characters named Solancei. Occasionally, we also see Solancei in real time. The constantly shifting viewpoint keeps the story sharp and interesting with every page. All the characters have their own unique backgrounds and while it seemed as if there was more to the history of this world that went unexplained, I have a feeling we’ll learn more as the series continues. The author did a wonderful job of creating an air of mystery while at the same time building a world that’s both interesting and still holds secrets for the readers to discover later on.