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Reviewed by Eduardo Aduna for Readers' Favorite
"Crimson & Cream", book one of "The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy" is a rollicking ride through a land where magic is outlawed. C.M. Skiera's novel tells the story of Jetsam, a young orphan whose life is as bleak as they come. With their parents murdered, Jetsam and Flotsam have adopted new names and live on the fringe of civilization, a civilization where doing magic is a capital crime. With his fellow orphans, Jetsam and Flotsam attempt to eke out a living amidst the numerous challenges which befall their troubled lives.
"Crimson & Cream" is a fantasy adventure novel that takes readers on a glorious ride. The protagonist is a willing and talented individual just looking for a way to improve his life. Living in a country where his very existence is just cause for forced labor and even death, Jetsam constantly strives to surmount the various problematic situations that come his way. "Crimson & Cream" is one of the most well-written adventure novels I have ever encountered. The action is slick and fast, the narrative detailed and the pacing just right. C.M. Skiera is a writer to watch. His characters made me root for even the vilest of antagonists. This talent for empathizing with even the most evil of characters, and trying to find the good in them, is one thing that is rare to find in fantasy writers nowadays. He had me guessing at the last minute about the actions of his characters, so much so that I was surprised when I realized that the novel was about to end. Dragons, elves, dwarves and magic take a backseat to great characterization, an awesome plot and fast-paced action. This is one novel that I will eagerly await the sequel to.