In Search of gods and heroes
Buried in the scriptures of Ibea lies a story of rivalry, betrayal, stolen love, and the bitter division of the gods into two factions. This rift forced the lesser deities to pledge their divine loyalty either to the shining Eternal Kingdom or the darkness of the Underworld.
When a demon sneaks into the mortal world and murders an innocent girl to get to her sister Chaeli, all pretence of peace between the gods is shattered. For Chaeli is no ordinary mortal, she is a demi-goddess, in hiding for centuries, even from herself. But there are two divine brothers who may have fathered her, and the fate of Ibea rests on the source of her blood.
Chaeli embarks on a journey that tests her heart, her courage, and her humanity. Her only guides are a man who died a thousand years ago in the Dragon Wars, a former assassin for the Underworld, and a changeling who prefers the form of a cat.
The lives of many others – the hideously scarred Anya and her gaoler; the enigmatic and cruel Captain Kerne; the dissolute Prince Dal; and gentle seer Hana – all become entwined. The gods will once more walk the mortal plane spreading love, luck, disease, and despair as they prepare for the final, inevitable battle.
In Search of Gods and Heroes, Book One of Children of Nalowyn, is a true epic of sweeping proportions which becomes progressively darker as the baser side of human nature is explored, the failings and ambitions of the gods is revealed, and lines between sensuality and sadism, love and lust are blurred.
"This is a classical epic fantasy, complete with many of the themes and conventions you’d expect. The protagonist is pleasingly complex and the evident latent power she possesses but doesn’t yet really understand or properly know was well handled. I also liked her edges. While she is harried and on the run, reliant on the kindness of strangers, it doesn’t mean she is overly submissive or biddable – or stridently, unbelievably stroppy either. It’s a balance harder to achieve than Smith makes it look. In fact, the writing is accomplished and smooth."
- SARAH J HIGBEE
"Sammy HK Smith's debut novel is a tightly-paced coming-of-age story set in a world where the living gods bicker and play politics just like earthly men. Ibea is a richly characterised world, full of broken seers, scarred herbalists, mysterious librarians, spies and counter-spies."
"I am a huge fantasy fan, however I am also very picky about my epic fantasy; I find a lot of it needlessly long-winded, overly descriptive, two dimensional characters, cliched heroes, irritating in its insistence on filling out the space between actual events with drawn out journeys that do nothing but slow the pace.... you get the idea. This book, IS NOTHING LIKE THAT. This book, is FABULOUS."
"The writing is engaging and the world is fabulous; the political intrigues between the various different factions are well-played; the darker characters are particularly interesting (Metlina is probably my favourite so far) and the different places are brought to life quickly and easily. I am eagerly awaiting the next book to find out what happens!"