Book Reviews

Master of Restless Shadows (Book One) by Ginn Hale at Blind Eye Books

Genre Gay / Fantasy / Assassins/Mercenaries / Magic / Royalty/Nobility / Romance / Fiction
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 25-November-2019

Book Blurb

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capitol of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya, has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs. 

What Narsi―and most of the larger world―cannot know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma. 

After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives.

Book Review

“Secrets of the past! Who does not wish to keep the past locked in a cage like a ferocious beast? The rich are sleepless for fear of thieves. The respectable have to guard their reputations in the same way.” ~ Munshi Premchand

Narsi, of ‘Masters of Restless Shadows’ by Ginn Hale, is summoned to Cieloalta by Atreau Vidiya, who happens to be his favorite author and to whom he owes a huge debt. Narsi is anxious to be in a position to use his skills as a healer, especially since it is for his hero Atreau.

Narsi is overwhelmed by all the new sights and sounds in the capital. Sadly, many people stare at him because his skin is so dark. Narsi is used to being the object of scorn and prejudice; he has learned to deal with it gracefully and unobtrusively. Not that it makes it any better, but he realizes how odd he must look among these fair-haired, light-skinned people. Narsi is curious about the patient that Atreau wants him to treat, especially since their care demands so much secrecy, but he has vowed to treat anyone, regardless of why they need his help.

Another development that Narsi doesn’t expect is that Duke Fedeles, Atreau’s friend and employer, hates physicians and with good reason. In the past, he was cursed by one and it almost destroyed him. Atreau intervenes when Fedeles tries to send Narsi away, reminding him that it was he who hired him. Begrudgingly, Fedeles tries to reserve judgement and, with assurances from Atreau, allows Narsi to stay.

Narsi is disappointed that Atreau does not remember him, but it doesn’t diminish the regard for and fascination with the man. Atreau is impressed with Narsi’s positive attitude and steadfast determination, regardless of how much Atreau tries to push him away. Atreau is inexplicably drawn to the young man, but is convinced that, regardless of what Narsi may feel about him, he is far too good of a person to be involved with someone like himself. Treating Narsi’s secret patient puts Narsi’s skills to the ultimate test, but he manages to do what no one else has done and help the patient. Helping get the patient to safety takes skill that Narsi isn’t even aware he possesses. Narsi may not be as wise to the ways of the world as Atreau and the others involved, but he is brave and catches on quite quickly. When, after the subterfuge is over, the sting of Atreau’s abrupt dismissal stings, but Narsi is determined not to let him know.

I can hardly scratch the surface in reviewing this complex, but ingenious book, with its brilliant world building, multiple points of view, and layer upon layer of deception, greed, cruelty, secrets, magic, sorcery, assassinations, and betrayal contained within these pages. The mere number of the characters and their relationships were enough to give me a headache trying to keep them straight, even with a glossary! Yet, I read on, both intrigued and thoroughly engaged. Thank you, Ginn, for the beginning of what I am certain is going to be an epic series.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 671 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 08-October-2019
Price $7.99 ebook, $17.95 paperback
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