About the Book
Book: Bear Knight
Author: James R. Hannibal
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release date: Febraury 14, 2023
Darkness Looms in the Dragon Lands
War is brewing. New threats have emerged in Keledev. The watchmen of Thousand Falls and the Windhold find goblin tunnels in the slopes of the mountain barrier that may hold many dangerous creatures. At the same time, scouting missions into the Dragon Lands confirm that the dragons are building an army of tortured Aladoth villagers to destroy the Liberated Land.
To protect Kara Orso, the young woman Connor and Lee rescued, the headmaster sends them to the Second Hall to face the intrigues of the Assembly in her place. Far to the south, the two cadets learn of an old weapon designed to end the war between the dragons and the Liberated Land forever. To restore the honor of his family and renew the hope of his people, Connor believes he must find the weapon and use it to destroy the dragon leader.
While Connor, Lee, and an assemblyman’s daughter scour the Dragon Lands for the weapon, Kara and Tiran are drawn north into the Forest of Horrors on a mission of their own—to find and save one tortured man. To succeed, both parties must face their fears and lean on the peace and strength of the Rescuer.
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While I had read the first book in the Lightraider series, I still did not expect the journey I was about to embark on when I started Bear Knight. Fantasy has always been a favorite genre of mine, and Bear Knight has easily risen to the top five of my favorite fantasy books.
The first book, Wolf Soldier, builds the world and lays the necessary groundwork for Bear Knight, so I’d recommend reading it first. In Bear Knight, we see beloved characters again. While they are still learning, they also have gained more wisdom, strength, and confidence, aiding them in the dangers that lie ahead and risks that they are forced to take. However, they all recognize that the wisdom, strength, and confidence that they have are gifts from up above, from the Rescuer, and rely on their faith in Him throughout the novel.
I absolutely love the way Hannibal weaves faith into this novel, reminding me of both Narnia and Lord of the Rings. If you are a fan of either, I would highly recommend you read this book. You will journey with characters such as Connor, Lee, Zel, Kara, Tiran, Teegan, Dag, and many others. You will travel on foot, on the back of a bear, and in the air. You will fight unworldly creatures with strength from the Rescuer. And you will be left in the end, reeling from the experience, but also left hanging, not knowing what will happen next.
I received a copy of the book as part of the Celebrate Lit Blogging Team and was required to give an honest review.
About the Author
As a former fighter pilot, stealth pilot, and tactical deception officer, James R. Hannibal is no stranger to secrets and adventure. He is the award-winning author of thrillers, mysteries, and fantasies for adults and children, and he is the developer of Lightraider Academy games. As a pastor’s kid in Colorado Springs, he guinea-pigged every youth discipleship program of the 1980s, but the one that engaged him and shaped him most as a Christ-follower and Kingdom warrior was DragonRaid, by Dick Wulf—the genesis of the Lightraider world.
Read an Excerpt from the Book
Sireth held up a palm to stop Aaron’s next swings and inspected their work, then waved. “Swap sides. We must keep the cuts even, and yours are not quite as deep.”
Not quite as deep was a generous evaluation, and Aaron knew it, but this did not deter his next question. Chopping trees was one thing. Fighting was quite another. “Are you not concerned about keeping up with the younger watchmen in training and combat?”
“Older. Younger. My age and yours are not so different when you consider eternity. And as to combat”—the axe spun in each of Sireth’s hands before he landed his next blow—“I have some training. You forget, most in my generation had not yet come of age when the Assembly disbanded the Order. Many of us had planned to join—had played and practiced at it from the day we could hold a wooden sword. We spent our strongest years still practicing, in hopes it would reopen.”
“But it didn’t. Not until you had households and children of your own—grown children, at that.”
“I’m well aware.”
Right. His children. “When did your sehna and behlna take on the initiate’s quest?”
“The very first class.”
The power went out of Aaron’s swing. Sireth Yar. Teegan and Tiran. How had he failed to put those names together? “They helped close the dragon’s portal. They stopped the invasion.”
“I take it you share the Order’s concern. If the dragons can open one portal, they can open others.”
Sireth shot a look at Aaron’s idle axe, and did not answer until Aaron had taken the cue and started chopping again. “That is why we are here, is it not? Last year, one dragon moved ore creatures and goblins to our side of the barrier. A host of dragons might send an army. The Lightraider Order believes that is their plan. My own sehna and behlna saw the preparations.”
An army. The preparations. Aaron let the words settle into his thoughts. He’d come to the barrier for adventure and because the old men of his village had spoken of honor and need. But had he truly considered the cost of his calling? Looking north, he pictured orcs, trolls, and all manner of dragon corruptions rushing down the slopes.
“You all right?”
“Hm? Oh yes.” Aaron resumed his swings. “Do you worry? About your sehna and behlna, I mean.” He looked northeast toward the Order’s fortress at Ras Telesar. “Up there, at the academy.”
“They’re in the Maker’s hands.” Sireth raised two fingers to signal Aaron to still his axe. “Ras Telesar may be higher up the barrier, but it’s still here, in Keledev, under the Rescuer’s protection.”
With a sharp crack, the trunk gave. Aaron found himself yanked over to Sireth’s side. The heaviest part of the pine smashed down right where he’d been standing. Sireth released him and patted his chest. “I’d say my children are as safe as you are.”
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Texas Book-aholic, February 27
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 28
Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 1
deb’s Book Review, March 1
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 2
Simple Harvest Reads, March 2 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 3
Lily’s Book Reviews, March 4
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 5
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6
Blogging With Carol, March 7
Rebecca Tews, March 8
Where Faith and Books Meet, March 8
Guild Master, March 9
Artistic Nobody, March 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
For Him and My Family, March 11
To celebrate his tour, James is giving away the grand prize package of a signed Bear Knight Hardcover, Starlots Gem Dice 7-Color Set, Hand-Inked, First Watch Bible Memory Card Game, and a $100 Amazon Gift Card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
My oldest child just requested the “Section 13” book series by James R. Hannibal, from our public library.
what a gorgeous cover. really sets the book up well for worldbuilding
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. James Hannibal is an exceptional author.
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