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24 Oct 2008

The Legend Of Witch Bane

The Legend Of Witch Bane by Kevis Hendrickson and published by Outskirts Press Inc is a children’s adventure at 330 pages in length covering 40 chapters.

Kevis Hendrickson lives in Miami Florida and is already working on the sequel to The Legend Of Witch Bane.

The cover art created by Michael Graham depicts three children one male and two girls backed into a corner holding a flaming torch, swords and a bow and arrow against the ever approaching werewolves. The cover itself is dark and the title and author name are written in silver, the name Witch Bane is backed by a sword through the lettering. There are also illustrations by Karen Petrasko throughout the book which are beautiful depictions of what is happening in the chapter where it is placed.

When evil Queen Rhiannon Eldess threatens the lives of the daughters of the Kingdom of Kaldan once more, the King and his Queen fear for the lives of their daughters. When the youngest, Anyr, is taken, her older brother Kodobos makes it his duty to save her but in doing so is forced to steal the Sword Of Kings which belongs to his father. In doing so Kaldan is placed in mortal danger and the kingdom falls under a dark enchantment. In a world full of dangers around every corner and so foreign to them, the children along with their elder sister Laris a mystery unto everyone and a half breed, must leave the kingdom on a quest to claim the sword known as Witch Bane if they are to feel the warmth of their parents love and protection ever again, a legendary sword powerful enough to destroy Rhiannon herself and break her evil spell upon Kaldan.

Kevis Hendrickson has created an amazing story reminiscent of the fairy tales of old we all grew up reading and still read to our younger family members to this day. With its mixture of Arthurian Legend and Greek and Norse mythology also play their part in this story of love, hate, loss, trust, deception and growing up but also what it means to be as innocent as a child should be.

While you can place which fairy tale or legend a certain event is based around there are also visible differences allowing this story to stand on its own.

This world is full of both wonderful and terrible creatures and people alike that anyone who reads this book will take away something, perhaps a new perception of the world around them.
As with all fairy tales there are lessons to be learnt around every corner however, un-like the fairy tales of old I’d say The Legend Of Witch Bane is aimed more toward those of around 10 years old to adult. I say this because there is one or two incidents in which I personally feel is not suitable no matter how carefully worded a child below 10 years of age should read and as Mr Hendrickson himself states in his book, children have the largest imaginations.

The characters are in themselves well created however the three children Laris, Anyr and Kodobos do sound older than they truly are though one could say that is down to their heritage.

Kevis Hendrickson has a unique way of telling the story that the amount of information you’re given is neither too little nor too much and yet remains to feel like you are being read to.

For younger readers this is a wonderful tale of learning to understand that no matter what, don’t be too eager to grow up however be more aware of what is going on around you for there is both good and evil in the world and both know not the limit of age.

For the older reader this is a grand trek across the magical world of Arva where dragons talk and some breathe ice and goblins seek the greatest of all treasures. If you loved Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, Grimms Tales, even far older tales lost in time then this tale has it all and will have you glued to its pages through every twist and turn.

I completed this book in four sittings and I would highly recommend anyone over the age of ten years of age to have The Legend Of Witch Bane sitting on their bookshelves. However, I do fear that by not mentioning a timeline for the journey within the story it does appear that at least one of the children every single day if not more, is in mortal peril. That being said this is a wonderful adventure story beautifully written and illustrated, and I give The Legend Of Witch Bane by Kevis Hendrickson 4.5 out of 5 stars.

By R.N. Hadley

1 Oct 2008

Frank Testimony

Frank Testimony written by J. Walt Layne and published by Champion City Press Ohio is a legal thriller at 291 pages long.

A veteran of the United States Army, a full time student at Urbana University studying business and human services, and working a full time job, J. Walt Layne has written for years. He has co-authored a science fiction novella titled The Coming Of T’Loal. Mr Layne currently resides in Springfield, Ohio with his wife and two children.

The cover art is red and black depicting what appears to be a field of thorns. The title in white bold lettering stands out in the top centre against the backdrop and the author name in small white lettering sits snug in the bottom right hand corner.

The synopsis is short but carries with it a half page excerpt which in its self sounds interesting but having been brought up watching court room dramas doesn’t sound to be my cup of tea since I never liked them.

Bedford Mississippi is home to some dark goings on and dangerous people and claverns (KKK). When Paul Whitaker and his daughter Mae are savagely murdered evidence points that Frank Burchill having recently been fired from his job is to blame for the deaths of his boss and the girl he loves. Sentenced to death Frank’s life changes in many ways, when he inherits the plantation he has been working on. Will Frank’s testimony save him? Will the real culprit be caught and receive his comeuppance by revenge? or the sword of justice?

The font is smaller than most novels and the chapters are unnumbered each having their own title and even though this can leave you bewildered for how many chapters remain they are at times short meaning you can get through quite a few in one sitting.

Though admittedly I am not a legal thriller fan I did enjoy reading this book if not only to find out what happened at the end. The synopsis I believe gives a little away to the story but it’s not until you’re over half way through the book that certain parts of the synopsis begin to materialise. The legal jargon appears professional and left me feeling I was both there but also wanting out. The period portrayed here in Frank Testimony in Nathan County Mississippi in 1958 is one to be carefully handled but I believe Mr Layne has done a wonderful job in his use of language and image portrayal.

There are three stories to this book, that of Frank Burchill and his love Mae Whitaker; that of Bobby Lee Russell, Mae Whitaker and Frank Burchill and the plot thickener and base of the book the involvement of the Ku Klux Klan within society and how though highly struggle some and with casualty’s, society fought back.

Writing this review has really taken me out of my safety zone that I just haven’t known how to structure this review for a book which deals with something completely foreign to me, and that still even to this day goes on somewhere in this world. I know law rushes for no-one in seeking the truth but I was glad having finished reading the book even though I did enjoy it. I think perhaps a larger font could possibly have given this book a fairer chance as often you would find yourself struggling to continue reading it’s a good job that Mr Layne has such an amazing story here to tell otherwise the legal jargon and font would be a black hole.

I would recommend Frank Testimony to anyone aged over 18 years as there are strong impressionable political views and strong offensive language unsuitable for younger generations. I give Frank Testimony by J. Walt Layne 4 out of 5 stars

By R.N. Hadley