Sanctuary Tales Volume One by Robert J. Crane

Sanctuary Tales consists of  six short stories that are connected in some way to the Sanctuary Series. Defender, Avenger, Champion, Crusader and coming soon in 2014 Thy Father’s Shadow: A Sanctuary Novel and Master: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Five.

Familiar Face  Incredibly beautiful. This is a short tale that fits into the Sanctuary series Defender: The Sanctuary Series, Volume One. The main character Cyrus returns to his hometown for a short visit. During his short stay he realizes that his decision to join the Sanctuary and the events he has endured since have changed his life in ways he can’t even begin to fathom.The story gives a short insight into the series, which is an epic fantasy about a Guild of mercenaries that consists of men, elves, trolls, magick users and other beings of the fantastical variety.

Savages This is a superb novella which is an add-on to the Sanctuary series Defender: The Sanctuary Series, Volume One and Avenger: The Sanctuary Series, Volume Two. It gives the reader a little more insight into the main character of Cyrus. In this book Cyrus is roped into a mission that will reap a vast fortune at the end. Unbeknownst to him the troll Vaste, who he hates with a passion, is along for the ride. The mission, the surprises they encounter and the unexpected danger they are confronted with, changes Cyrus and teaches him an important lesson.

I loved the close look at the relationship between the two men or troll and man. The banter between them is witty and the subtle message that Cyrus learns is one that we should all take on board. On a more jovial note if I ever want to insult a troll I shall call him an elf girl.

The Last Moments of Gezhvet The last moments of Narstron, during the battle against the goblins. How very sad and disappointing, because I was hoping there might  be a glimmer of hope. Instead the story left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Something Crane is known for is his ruthlessness when it comes to the fates of characters, especially ones the readers become attached to.

The Greenest Fields  Tells the back-story of Martaina Proelius, whilst simultaneously telling a story that takes place in the present, and I have to say it gives a lot of insight into her character. The reasons for her aloofness and her apparent icy disposition. The heartbreak she has had to endure and yet she still had to be strong and uphold the ways and myths of her  ancient roots. The reality of her position and what she wishes and yet knows will never come to pass because of who she is.

A Princess of Sovar The tale and discovery of Erith. As yet an unknown entity but I suspect she will become relevant in the next few books because she stems from the same place as another of our well-known Sanctuary characters. What exactly can they see in her and how will she play a role in what is to come, if indeed she does at all?

Thieving Ways What? Really? You just had to go there and throw a huge devious spanner in the works.  I knew it, I just knew something was dodgy. Aisling has always been snooty and difficult but this? The implications for Sanctuary are immense and devastating. The only redeemable fact was the essence of humanity that shines through in her reasoning. The why is important, but if she achieves her goal will the why matter at all in the grand scheme of things?

Thieving Ways is Crane’s way of leaving the reader with just enough information to satisfy their appetite and at the same time start them craving the next installment. It is what makes him such a good writer.

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