Little has changed in the five provinces over the years. From the metropolitan capital of Ban Turin to rural Bardstown, or the mountain city of Craymore to the bustling seaport Laniel, the Council of Lords rule with an iron fist. And yet, not all is as it seems in this medieval world. There are whispers of strange creatures haunting the woods and mountain passages, and magic has appeared in the unlikeliest of places. The uneasy peace of centuries past is unraveling.
A new generation of heroes will rise…
Roman is a young man searching for meaning in a life filled with questions. His solitary existence is turned upside down when he befriends Dennah, a caravan guard and kindred spirit. They work together to solve the puzzling events plaguing his town, unearthing startling secrets buried in his past along the way.
Julian is a young nobleman looking for more than his highborn station provides. He pledges himself to the illustrious Silver Guard and trades in a life of status and comfort for a dangerous posting in the mountain city of Craymore. A fateful meeting with Tanea, a gifted young healer, sets him onto a treacherous path, one of both divinity and damnation.
Autumn gilds the seemingly tranquil landscape, but inside the shadows lurks a treacherous and evil presence. Separated by leagues of wilderness across a vast continent, Roman and Julian must fight for their survival against an ancient force set in motion by an unsuspecting young woman, and a mysterious beast intent on setting its world back in order.
The greatest strength, and danger, will be found…Within
“Give it time. You’ll be glad you did.”
Five Star Review on Amazon By Brian K
I will be honest; when I first started Within, I was very concerned. It was very rough around the edges (which isn’t necessarily unusual with self-published works), and the first 100 pages seemed particularly conventional, not breaking any new ground in the realm of fantasy. While there is something to be said for fantasy staying within a field of comfort and predictability that is so common in our post-Tolkienesque literary world, seldom do authors feel the motivation to go beyond those conventions. However, that’s a soapbox for another day.
While I wasn’t ready to give up, per se, I wasn’t entirely certain that Aaron Bunce would do anything that pleasantly surprised me throughout Within. I was wrong.
Around the 120 page mark, something happened. While the occasional grammatical error persisted (I’m a teacher; it’s an admittedly annoying habit), the story started gripping me. I mean, REALLY gripping me. The characters began fleshing out and developing lives of their own, which is exactly what you want a novel to do. The world surrounding these characters began to color. The stories of these characters and this world seemed increasingly palpable and detailed. I was starting to believe in it. That’s when I realized what had happened; the author was becoming entrenched in his own story.
Let me explain. When the book began (and I asked him about this), you could tell that the “prologue” was the first thing he wrote, pen to paper. The prologue is where the whole thing started, and everything else simply followed and took on a life of its own from there. As the author continued writing the story and the reader continues reading the story, his enrapturing within Denoril works infinitely to the reader’s benefit. This very aspect makes me incredibly eager to read Bunce’s follow-up, as I know it will hit the proverbial ground effing running.
Within does not necessarily reinvent the wheel. It does, however, chisel and polish it, creating a refreshingly rich (and dark) story that is a compliment to the craft. Bravo, sir.
About the Author
Aaron Bunce lives with his wife, and two daughters in eastern Iowa. He has been reading and writing since childhood, and has a fondness for conflict, and flawed, relatable characters. His first full-length release, Within, is the introductory volume in his all-new fantasy series, Overthrown.