The Fortress Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - General
216 Pages
Reviewed on 12/30/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Lisa M. James is an independent author, product marketing manager, and former Sunday School teacher. She is also a regular guest blogger for various IT digital publications. Her fictional writing is inspired by Historical Fiction, Fantasy genres, and Christian novels. When not writing, Lisa loves talking about her faith, Disney movies, and football while drinking chai lattes. To keep up with her latest releases, subscribe to

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Premonition (The Fortress Book 1) by Lisa M. James is an exciting beginning to what promises to be an excellent fantasy adventure. Isaac is the young son and heir-apparent to the Governor of one of the provinces that make up the land ruled by The Chief from his central location known as The Fortress. When Isaac discovers he is prone to visions and premonitions, he is shunned by most of his young friends and even his family, to a lesser extent. When the Chief sends his emissaries to inform the Governor that drought is on its way and they need to stockpile food in preparation, Isaac is able to confirm this as he also has seen a vision of the coming drought. Ignoring his son’s advice, the Governor and the people find themselves in great hardship a few years later when the drought does strike and the crops fail. Desperate for food, they organize an unsuccessful raid on the Fortress’s warehouses, where much-needed grain is stored. Facing possible execution by The Chief, Isaac makes the ultimate sacrifice and gives himself in exchange for the freedom of his people. The Chief’s daughter, Kiatra, is drawn to the young man and agrees to take him as her personal slave in return for letting the rest of the villagers return home. As Kiatra’s personal slave, Isaac will try to find a new life amongst these people, always trying to keep hidden his “curse” of visions and premonitions along with dealing with his mixed emotions over his new master.

Premonition (The Fortress Book 1) is a fantastic and easy read within the general fantasy genre. Lisa M. James’ style just flows effortlessly from one arc to the next and it is more than possible to read this entire book in one sitting, as I did. The characters she has created are real and believable. I particularly like Isaac with his insecurities and fears, equally challenged by his sheer bloody-mindedness and determination. However, for a man with visions, he did make some poor choices from time to time. The idea of the fine line between a just and fair ruler and a tyrant was portrayed perfectly. Of course, The Chief’s court had the requisite amount of palace intrigue, especially from The Chief’s mistress, Rose, and her daughter, Sabrina. If the purpose of the first book in any series is to ensnare the reader into wanting more, this narrative certainly achieved that. I am personally invested in these characters and desperately want to know where the journey will take them next, especially given one of Isaac’s visions of the future. This is a thoroughly enjoyable story that will appeal to all ages and even genres with a strong, sensitive female lead and, of course, the necessary romance to make any story stand out. I can highly recommend it.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Premonition by Lisa M. James shows her flair for strong female characters when Kiatra, the Chieftess of the Fortress, sentences Isaac to slavery for the sins of his village. The young man had seen his fate in a vision, but his father refused to heed his warning. The visions Isaac saw were almost more than he could bear. Kiatra viewed herself as a compassionate ruler, but any favor she showed Isaac would be viewed as an insult to her people, mainly the many men she had turned away. Will there come a point when Isaac can trust Kiatra with his visions? Can she trust him to stay loyal to her while others are preparing to dethrone her?

Lisa M. James is that rare author who offers you a story, and, in exchange, you walk through the portal to a new world. Premonition is a novel that will appeal to readers of folklore, historic fantasy, and characters with a forceful personality. When Isaac is enslaved to Chieftess Kiatra, the pace quickens as he tries to survive his sentence and comes to terms with his mistress. The narrative flips between slave and mistress and the reader sees the turmoil each is experiencing with their decisions. James has the distinct skill of breathing life into her novel. It mesmerizes you until the end, making you look forward to the next book in this series; Awakening.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Isaac was a soothsayer. When he started having dreams, visions of the future, his father warned him to hide them. He wasn’t always successful and the people of his village thought he was crazy. So, when he was offered as a slave to the Fortress, no one in the village thought further of him. As far as they were concerned, Isaac was dead. But, his life at the Fortress continued as the Chieftess, Kiatra, took him on as her personal slave. She saw something in him. She knew he was a soothsayer, just as her mother had been. She tried to be patient, waiting for Isaac to reveal his abilities. Isaac worked hard as Kiatra’s slave; he made few friends, but those he did make were loyal. It wasn’t an easy life but when he saved Kiatra’s life, things seem to take a turn for the better.

Lisa M. James's novel, Premonition (The Fortress Book 1), is the first book in a series that introduces the lives of a slave, Isaac, and his owner, the Chieftess, Kiatra. These are difficult times and many believe in dreams and visions, while many others fear them. The plot develops like a story from the Bible: the visions that forecasted a drought, the lengthy drought, the struggle for survival, the battles between good and evil, the black arts, and so much more. The characters are well developed and believable, the descriptive narrative eloquently establishes a sense of place, and the reader instantly feels part of the story. This is a powerful story, a real page-turner. I can’t wait for Book 2.

K.C. Finn

Premonition is a work of fiction in the fantasy, interpersonal drama, action and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author Lisa M. James. The opening novel of The Fortress series, this work is suitable for teen and adult readers alike and is set in a fantasy world where some characters have supernatural gifts. Isaac is one such figure, plagued by visions of the future, so when he is sentenced to slavery and sent to serve Chieftess Kiatra, he wonders whether he can trust her enough to show her his skills. And as Kiatra gets to know this mysterious new figure in her life, she too feels the tension building all around them.

Author Lisa M. James really knows how to craft a story that perfectly balances the emotional journey of the characters against the wider tensions of the plot and storyline. One of the things I particularly loved about this story was the way that Isaac’s supernatural powers play directly into the plot and cause tensions between him and Kiatra as the central mystery unfolds. The emotional development between the pair of protagonists was also really well-paced and played out with expressive dialogue and well-considered speech and thought presentation. The longer I read on, the deeper I was embroiled in the drama and the fate of both characters in their complex dynamics. Overall, I would highly recommend Premonition to all fantasy readers seeking excellent writing and the opening to a very promising new series.

Michelle Randall

All his life, Isaac has had to hide a part of himself. Isaac is a seer. Although he has never heard the word, he has dreams that show the future, sometimes of people he knows, other times of people and places he can't even imagine, but they are always true. He only knows that it is something to hide, to be ashamed of, or at least that is what his father told him. Even though his father is a governor, and it should fall to Isaac to take his father's place, his father has kept Isaac woefully ignorant of the duties and the world around him. Kiatra is a Chieftess of the Kingdom, and although she knows seers exist, she has to be ever vigilant as there are always people wanting to take her title from her. She has seen the dark side of betrayal and she fears trusting anyone, even those she loves. Premonition is the first book in The Fortress series by author Lisa M James. It is the story of Isaac and Kiatra, their lives and struggles, and the betrayals that color their worlds.

Premonition by Lisa M James is a well-written story of a time and place much simpler than now, but it is more a story of trust and betrayal. Isaac has been misguided by his father; he has learned to hide and not to trust the rulers of the land, but Isaac has no idea why that is. Kiatra has seen what betrayal can do to a person, how it can make them a shadow of themselves and she is not about to let that happen to her, so she holds herself closely guarded. This story will pull you in and have you reading to the end. For me, personally, I had a strong dislike of Isaac's father from page one and I continued to carry it throughout. I felt Isaac gave his father way too much loyalty, none of which was deserved, and had he just let go and forgotten what his father told him, he would have saved himself so much pain and suffering. Even my dislike of Isaac's father could not diminish the pull of this book. There are always characters you love and those you hate, and that is what makes this book so real.