Monday, January 5, 2015

To Whatever End (Book 1 of Echoes of Imara) by Claire Frank

Release date: December 11, 2014
Subgenre: Epic fantasy, romantic fantasy

About To Whatever End

The thriving kingdom of Halthas was founded by Wielders and Shapers: people who can manipulate either energy or matter. Cecily's noble birth and strong Wielding ability made her a favorite of the king, until she and her husband Daro were caught up in the war that saw him deposed. Although they were hailed as heroes and a new king sits on the throne, Cecily and Daro chose to leave the politics of the Halthain court for a peaceful life, far outside the city.

Their quiet retirement is interrupted by an unexpected attack, leaving Daro captive and Cecily injured after a narrow escape. With no trail to follow and few clues, Cecily desperately tracks rumors of a madman who is trying to bend the laws of Wielding magic. The subjects of his human experiments rarely survive with their sanity, if they survive at all.

Only their bonded soul assures Cecily that Daro is still alive - but for how much longer and in what condition, she can't tell. Her best hope is to gather old friends, try to repair the bridges she burned when she left her old life, and muster every resource to find her husband. No sacrifice is too great to bring Daro back, if his mind isn't already gone.


Cecily closed her eyes, her breath fogging in the cool predawn air, and opened her Awareness. She felt it reach out from her core as it spread across the forest floor, picking out every pine needle, branch and stone. In seconds, she had a mental map of the surrounding terrain. She could see the forest debris between the trees and the rise and fall of the land better than if it had been full daylight. The clearing was flat, but she could feel the slope to her left where the hill descended toward her home. He was coming, and she would be ready.

Although he was adept at hiding his movements, she felt his careful footsteps before she could hear them. She marveled at how softly he could step, despite his size. He could take her unaware if she wasn’t expecting him. She also knew that his strength made people underestimate his stealth. She would not make that mistake.

As she focused on the feeling of his feet on the forest floor, Cecily almost forgot she was standing in the clearing, in plain sight. With a sharp intake of breath, she sprinted, keeping her Awareness spread out as she ran. Immediately, he gave chase. He was faster than she was, but she could see where she was going in a way he could not. His speed defied the darkness, and as he gained ground, she wondered how he could see well enough to move so fast.

As the ground plunged downhill, she turned sharply and almost lost her footing. Dirt cascaded around her feet, and she pushed her heels into the ground to keep from falling as she stumbled down the hillside. He would be within sight of her now, but she did not feel him follow her down the slope. The vibrations of his footfalls veered to the right. Once she reached the bottom of the hill, she’d have a direct route home and he would be left behind. What was his game?
He ran farther away and disappeared from her mental sight. The branches rustled in the breeze as Cecily slowed, scattering a few pine needles at her feet. She couldn’t risk the effort to push her Awareness out further to follow him. She’d have to slow down and keep an eye on her edges, waiting for him to get close.

The image of the terrain sharpened in her mind while she crept forward, feeling the tingle of anticipation run up her spine. She scanned the forest and darted forward, choosing her steps carefully. Her tall leather boots hardly made a sound, even amongst the twigs and pine needles. Where is he? She picked up her pace and before long, she could see smoke curling from a chimney. Home. She was almost there, and still no sign of her pursuer.
His huge form burst into the quiet clearing, stunning her with his speed. Dropping her Awareness, she ran, sprinting down the gentle slope toward her home. The terrain was open, but she knew she couldn’t make it. No longer trying to hide, he ran toward her at full speed. Her breath came in gasps and her legs burned but she pushed harder, determined to make it to her house.



About Claire Frank

Claire Frank is a fantasy author from the Seattle area. She loves to write for the same reason she loves to read: it is an adventure. Immersed in fantastical worlds, she can explore love, loss, heartbreak, fear, companionship, loyalty, failure and redemption. She can walk with a character as they stumble, fall and rise to try again. Her husband is her collaborator in everything she does. Together they craft worlds, banter ideas, create characters and develop stories.

Visit Claire on the web at

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