Hounded by watchmen, trolls, goblins, and a relentless bounty hunter, thirteen-year-old Jetsam dreams of the day he’ll no longer have to run for his life. A victim of circumstance burdened with an interminable unlucky streak, each sunrise ushers in more difficulty for the resilient adolescent. An avalanche of life-changing events forces him to boldly decide his future.
In the mountain city of Dwim-Halloe, Eidryn and Elvar were born twins to teachers at the city’s revered School of Sorcery. When the new king outlawed magic, the boys’ parents were murdered. Their deaths forfeited the siblings’ magical birthright and rendered them homeless fugitives.
Rescued by an orphan gang, the water-logged twins were nicknamed Flotsam and Jetsam. To survive as outcasts, the orphans scavenge and pilfer nightly. Their last risky foray sent them fleeing into an unfamiliar cavern. Now the brothers are lost deep underground where they encounter a strange beast that will change their lives forever and begin a harrowing journey for their ultimate survival.
Crimson & Cream recounts Jetsam’s adventurous tale of flight and discovery as the fugitive orphan unravels the tangled mysteries his tortured past while securing his tenuous future. Crimson & Cream is a classic swords and sorcery coming-of-age adventure set in a traditional fantasy world.
Reviews:From Tome Tender Book Blog: Danger, conflict and an adventurous search for answers in a world filled with fantastical beings, kings, and magic. What better way to snag the attention of the daring inner child in all of us who dreams of living large in a world that just begs for us to conquer it? Crimson & Cream by C. M. Skiera is a surefire magnetic for reluctant YA readers.
C.M. Skiera holds nothing back as he builds his fantasy world from the caves on up as he pulls the reader through the rabbit hole and we fall into his tale. Unafraid to color darkness and pain into his story, Mr. Skiera has created a realm of possibility, daring and heroic characters that one would be proud to call a friend. He writes with a crisp style and vivid detail, until one smells the dank tunnels and gropes blindly through the dark along with his characters. Evil is evil, ominous and larger than life, but Jetsam and his “family” demonstrate that loyalty and love go a long way. Absolutely wonderful reading and the perfect cornerstone for a new fantasy trilogy!
From Amazon.com: Crimson and Cream is the debut fantasy novel from author, C.M. Skiera, and a wonderful beginning to what promises to be an exciting series.
The story begins with Flotsam and Jetsam, twin orphans nicknamed for the water they were pulled from after fleeing from the men who killed their parents. Their parents had been killed for being sorcerers after the king outlawed magic. On their birthday, they sneak onto the grounds of the king’s castle at the behest of the headstrong Jetsam, in hopes to procure fruit from the abundant orchard there. After being spotted, the twins are sent into a dangerous chase, one that serves as a catalyst for the adventure to follow.
This seemingly innocuous beginning turns into a quest to discover the secrets of the twins’ past while being hunted by a bounty hunter whose sole motivation is to cement his legacy, no matter the cost. Intense battles with trolls, being abducted by a group of men with questionable motivations, fleeing from a vicious bounty hunter, and encountering a massive beast out of legend are just a few of the exciting situations we find the unlikely protagonist thrust into. And let me tell you, it’s an intense, fast-paced ride until the end.
One thing that really struck me with Crimson and Cream is the massively emotional whack over the head that C.M. Skiera introduces fairly early into the story(sorry, not going to spoil anything here). Although the story doesn’t quite reach the same level of emotional impact afterwards, the scene is bold, and is plays a pivotal role in character growth throughout the book.
The story is very well written and plotted. C.M. Skiera has a wonderful talent for description and dialogue, and his characters are unique and interesting. The story introduces several original concepts, though also treads familiar fantasy ground, mostly in Tolkienesque fashion(completely meant as a compliment). Though having Book One included in the title of this book, you can’t help but be a little disappointed as the last page ends, leaving many unanswered questions. Hopefully we won’t have to wait long for the answers!
C.M. Skiera grew up in Michigan and now lives in California with his wife and two rescue Chihuahuas. He works as a professional environmental engineer to pay the bills and has been writing since the mid 1990s. Crimson & Cream is his debut epic fantasy novel. He started writing Crimson & Cream in 1999, and after lots of twists and turns, 13 drafts, plenty of rejections, the arrival of the 21st Century and the advent of online self-publishing, the ebook was self-published on Smashwords and Amazon.com in August of 2012. C.M. Skiera is currently finalizing Mirrors & Mist, book two of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy.
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