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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Tales of the Archer: A Corthan Companion (The Corthan Legacy) by Stacy Bennett is one in a series of stories that bring to mind the great tales of Jean M. Auel and her Clan of the Cave Bear series, although these are not as long nor as in-depth. Reid Tarhill is a young man in search of his love, Maura, the daughter of the Bear Clan’s chieftain. Between a drunken and abusive father and two elder brothers, Reid has difficulty standing out and making his mark in the clan. However, he is sure of one thing – his desire for Maura and his determination to make her his wife. When Gilland Fynan, the heir to the Seal Clan leadership, arrives in the village and appears to be seeking Maura’s favor also, Reid knows he must act quickly if he is to gain her notice and her love. The life of the clan is hard and uncompromising and when a rogue bear threatens them, along with an illness for which there is no known cure sweeping through the village, the clan’s very survival is at stake. Can Reid prevail against the odds stacked against him and win the heart of the beautiful Maura, his childhood playmate?
Tales of the Archer is easy reading and a satisfying fantasy adventure that appeals on many levels. Author Stacy Bennett has created a fantasy world where men think they rule and women are essentially subservient. Dig beneath the surface, however, and the truth rapidly becomes apparent. It is the women who have the real power, the real magic, and the ability to keep the clan together in a tough, uncompromising environment, where life is cheap and easily forfeited. Maura, as the heir to the Bear Clan’s leadership, is everything one could wish for in a leader; wise, compassionate, strong, and loving. Her burgeoning relationship with Reid and her clear disdain for Gilland’s boastfulness, arrogance, and self-interest come across as the key elements of this narrative. I particularly enjoyed the testy relationship Reid had with his drunken father and the difficulty of being the third son in a world where “firstborn” is all-important. The writing style is simple, descriptive and easily read. Given the length of the narrative, one can finish this in one satisfying sitting. I enjoyed the story world and am encouraged to read more from this author. I can highly recommend this book.