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Monthly Archives: April 2023

When Aelis arrives in Lone Pine, she’s struck almost immediately by the smell of sheep shit. This doesn’t bode well for her scheduled two-year tenure as the new Warden of the small farming village out on the border with orc country. Still, she has no way to contest her station, despite her wealthy heritage. The Lyceum where she studied wizardry saw fit to send her to Lone Pine, even if it doesn’t seem like a proper location for a Warden who specialized in Necromancy.

Truth be told, Aelis would rather be anywhere else. Any urban post. Somewhere closer to her friends and lovers from school. Anywhere were her contractually obligated housing isn’t a broken down, falling apart tower. Anywhere she might have people to protect who aren’t deathly afraid of her. But no. She’s in Lone Pine, and only Martin and Rus, the local innkeepers, have any tolerance for her presence. Almost everyone else shuns her and attempts to avoid her at all costs. It’s a rough start, to be sure, but it’s Aelis’s station, and she’ll do her job. She’s a Warden, after all, not just a wizard.

When a group of adventurers make their way into Lone Pine from a frontier excursion, cart laden with gold to spend in the small town, it seems like the fortunes of the villagers are about to change. However, a violent encounter shatters the peace and sends Aelis on a quest to track down the guilty party. Her journey will take her into the wilderness, and bring her face to face with threats both old and new.

Daniel M. Ford’s The Warden is out in stores today, and I highly recommend it to any D&D player or fantasy adventure fan, especially for those who’ve enjoyed Travis Baldree’s Legends and Lattes or Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth. It was an absolute treat to read, playing with tropes and expectations throughout the book. I’ve loved every minute that I’ve spent in this world, and I hope to get to visit it again soon.

My utmost thanks to NetGalley and Tor Publishing Group for access to an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

You’re awake in the middle of the night
A bad dream
Or something akin to one
And from downstairs, I hear you
As you begin to cry
And I respond
It’s my job to keep
You safe, even from the dangers
That aren’t real
(Especially then)
Because you’re still learning
The difference.
And in seconds, I’ve reached
Your door, stepped over
The gate that keeps you
And your little brother from
Roaming the hall at night,
Scooped you up in my arms
And whisked you away
To the light of the
Soon, you’re calmed by
The promise of a
Cup of milk and
A warm blanket and
Snuggling in my arms
On your favorite couch.
Your smile then is the
Brightest I’ve seen from you in days,
And then I too
Am ready to face the dark again.