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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cover Reveal: The Ties That Bind trilogy by Rob J. Hayes

Official Author Website
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Heresy Within
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Color Of Vengeance
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Northern Sunrise
Read Fantasy Book Critic interview with Rob J. Hayes
Read The Northern Sunrise mini-Q&A with Rob J. Hayes

One of my favorite authors whom I discovered last year was Rob J. Hayes. He from the UK indie front released a trilogy of books focusing on characters that were dangerous, morally grey (blackish even) and highly entertaining. I read all three of them within a week and the second volume was my favorite fantasy title for 2013

Landing as much acclaim as a self-published book could find, the author certainly took things into stride and began work on his follow-up books. His terrific prose and characterization however struck a chord with the Ragnarok Publications folks who specialize in the darker side of fiction and publish quality stories.

To my joy, I found that Rob had signed on the Ties That Bind trilogy with them and so it’s with great pleasure that I present the new covers of this terrific trilogy. Also Rob was more than kind to talk a bit on each cover that was so magnificently drawn by Alex Raspad.

So primarily here’s Rob on the main reason behind him writing this trilogy, and why he decided to partner with Ragnarok:

 “I wrote these books because I wanted to craft a dark, gritty fantasy world populated by anti-heroes that reflect realistic strengths and weaknesses as they struggle to do what they believe is right in a world where moral compasses have no North. The story is very character driven with the three protagonists being both likable and hate-able in equal measure.”

 “When I first self-published The Ties that Bind trilogy it did very well, far beyond my expectations, but there's only so much an indie author can achieve. I don't have the contacts, the knowledge, or the experience to properly market a book and the trilogy never took off in the US quite as well as the UK. My hope for Ragnarok is that they can fill in the blanks in my own marketing methods and help my little stories reaches a wider audience.”

So here’s the cover for The Heresy Within:

Rob’s thoughts:When I first published the trilogy I put Thanquil on the cover of The Heresy Within (THW) but with this re-issue Jezzet graduates to pole position. It makes sense in a way, while the book is undoubtedly about all 3 characters and each one gets about the same screen time, Jezzet's character has the most progression in THW.”

Official Book Blurb - Jezzet Vel'urn is a trained swordswoman. She has rightfully earned the title Blademaster, and she knows that for a woman like her there are generally just two ways out of most hostile situations; fight or fornicate. All too often for Jezzet's liking, it comes down to some gods-be-damned combination of the two.

In The Heresy Within Jezzet is chased into the Wild by a vengeful warlord until she finally makes it to the sovereign city-state of Chade. But instead of sanctuary, she finds only more opportunistic bastards waiting to turn her over to her enemies.

Also figuring majorly in the story is Thanquil Darkheart, a sorcerer hunter called an Arbiter, tasked with hunting down and purging heretics for the Inquisition. Thanquil is given a task by the God Emperor of Sarth from which he has no escape. Lastly there’s the brutal outlaw called Black Thorn, best known perhaps for the killing of several Arbiters and possibly being one of the biggest names in the Wild for his proclivities.

All three of their fates seem to be converging on the Free City of Chade and, before long, Jezzet, Thanquil, and Black Thorn will have to confront each other as they find themselves facing The Heresy Within.

Then there’s The Color Of Vengeance, which absolutely stole my heart with its breakneck pace and plot twists:

Rob’s thoughts: "The Black Thorn isn't quite as ugly as he should be but DAMN! does he look awesome. I love the level of detail Alex Raspad has put into the illustrations from Thorn's missing fingers to the torn and blood-spattered armor. Oh, and the eerie background is brilliant."

Official Book Blurb - Beaten, battered and damned near broken with a bounty on his head so large he’s tempted to turn himself in, the Black Thorn finds himself on trial for the crime of being him. Despite the impending probability of death he has but one thought on his mind; taking revenge against the Arbiter who took his eye.

In order to carry out his vengeance Thorn must first escape Sarth and recruit a new crew, each one with their own designs on revenge.

Lastly there’s The Price Of Faith, which I’ll be reviewing closer to its release next year:

Rob’s thoughts: "I didn't notice this at first but if you look at the wall behind Thanquil there's a shadow that isn't his, for anyone who hasn't read the books it could be a preview of what's in store. Also I want an Arbiter coat for myself, I've always wanted one to be honest but now I REALLY want one."

Official Book Blurb - Separated and miserable, Thanquil Darkheart and Jezzet Vel’urn both have their reasons for wanting to leave the Dragon Empire. Jezzet flees from the wrathful fury of an Empress scorned while accompanied by the ever insidious Drake Morrass, and Thanquil sets out to find and judge his one heretical loose end.


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