A fantasy genre book by Patricia Bray. Part one of "The Sword of Change" trilogy.
Jorsk is a kingdom dying an inch at a time, beset on all sides by it enemies. The lord of the kingdom is paralyzed both by his indecisive nature and by a fairly typical court of power hungry nitwits. During such times the divinely appointed Chosen One normally helps deal with the situation, but for a great while all those who gain the post of Chosen One have been killed in nasty ways. Even with a large purse attached to the station, only the most desperate seek to become the Chosen One.
Devlin Stonehand is a metalsmith who has lost his family and has only two goals. He wishes to gain the funds needed to support the family of his dead brother, and having accomplished that, he plans to get himself killed as quickly as possible. After gaining the position of Chosen One however, he persists in surviving the threats that begin to come crashing down around him. Is this dumb luck, or do the gods intend that Devlin avoid becoming monster chow?
I would not be tempted say Devlin’s Luck has many surprising plot twists in store for the reader, however the protagonist’s bleak personality is refreshing, as is the lack of the clichéd romantic interest. The secondary characters are given fair but not excessive attention, and are not used as disposable props. Although the plot develops in a fairly standard fashion, Patricia Bray’s writing style has a fresh perspective that makes the reading enjoyable. She manages to keep from leaning too heavily on any one plot element, and this greatly helps in keeping the reading vibrant. She does tend to overemphasize Devlin’s pessimistic opinions and goals, but not to an extreme degree. On the whole, “Devlin’s Luck” is a quite decent read, grim but not crushingly so.
Four stars out of five. ****