The Scoundrel's Blade

Chronicles of an Outcast Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
501 Pages
Reviewed on 05/02/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I love telling stories.

Be it with comics, short stories in fanzines and magazines, books, or even as Dungeon Master in D&D. I like creating worlds and characters to interact within them, and the feeling I get when I see the excitement, fear, or even angst from my readers and players is, without a doubt, my best feeling in the world. And that is why I will continue telling stories, even if just one person listens to them, it will always be worth it.

Now, a little bit about me;

I grew up bilingual, as my mother is a second-generation Greek who grew up in Australia, so I was able to enjoy the work of both English and Greek writers in their original language while growing up. Classic Greek writers like Nikos Kazantzakis, Giorgos Seferis, and even the ancients like Homer. And of course, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, R.A. Salvatore, Michael Moorcock, and my favorite fantasy writer of all time, the late Ursula K. Le Guin.

I studied architecture at “The Democritus University of Thrace” from 2001 to 2006, and illustration and graphic design at “The Ornerakis School of Fine Arts” from 2008-2009 and 2010-2012, taking a one-year break to fulfill my mandatory army duties. I have also attended creative writing seminars in Thessaloniki and Athens, of which my most memorable one was probably the one by Graham Masterton during the Fantasmagoria fantasy festival in Thessaloniki on April 21&22 of 2018.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Scoundrel's Blade is a work in the epic dark fantasy and adventure subgenres, and it forms the first novel of the Chronicles of an Outcast series. It is best suited to a mature reading audience owing to some scenes of violence and sexual violence. Penned by Alkiviadis E. Halkiotis, this gritty and intricately crafted fantasy story takes us into the world of Avaelin society, where we meet the elf Avathar. During his coming-of-age ceremony, the young man is plagued by dangerous visions of demonic forces and commits an atrocity so great that he banishes himself at once. So begins a dark adventure where the demons of the mind are just as sinister as those of the wider world.

Alkiviadis E. Halkiotis has crafted a fascinating world of fantasy interspersed with a multi-genre approach, incorporating psychological thriller, interpersonal drama, horror, and action-adventure elements to form a true epic that never lets up on suspense or drama. One of its core strengths is in the lead character, Avathar, whose internal struggles and anti-hero narrative make for compelling reading and a genuine unpredictability of where his nightmarish existence may lead us next. I also found that worldbuilding was a slow and steady success, which didn’t overload me at the start but formed a complete and immersive picture the more I read. The dialogue is a particular triumph, treading that careful balance between a slick and accessible speaking style to show off the characters’ attitudes and humor without losing some of the grandiosity of classic fantasy. Overall, The Scoundrel's Blade is a fantastic start to what promises to be an epic fantasy series, and I can’t wait to see what more this author has to offer.

Asher Syed

In Book One in the Chronicles of an Outcast series, The Scoundrel's Blade by Alkiviadis E. Halkiotis, readers are transported to a fantasy world where only a few elves still exist and magic is equally elusive. Avathar is a young elf orphan who has been plagued by nightmares since his father's failed ritual summoning brought destruction to their world. Avathar grows up as the foster son in a family that has a bond with him stronger than mere guardianship and with a sister named Anadriel. Eventually, Avathar must prove himself in his society by undergoing a three-day coming-of-age ritual test. The last night sees a demon possession in process and while it tries to wrestle his body from him, he accidentally kills his beloved Anadriel. Avathar runs with Anadriel's sword and later discovers the immensity of its power, but only Avathar can save himself from the demons.

When loss and tragedy are the milestones for every event of consequence in a young elf's life, Avathar's retreat in The Scoundrel's Blade by Alkiviadis E. Halkiotis makes sense. The demons that are a constant presence in all that he tries to do are the central dark force that Avathar has to overcome, and doing so requires a huge amount of courage and comes with pain that perhaps an elf who had not only experienced such brutal emotional torture might not be able to bear. In this regard, and as in the case in books with a young hero's journey, Avathar's past has prepared him for his future. There are exit signs but he resists in a self-sacrifice to stop the spread of evil. “I’m not asking you to give up, just to give in. Aren’t you tired of being afraid of your own body, of hurting a loved one without realizing it?” Halkiotis is at their writing best when Avathar is at his worst, and the companion the elf makes in Denarlia is the ray of hope filtering in after the loss of his sister. I like a strong female partner and Denarlia is that to a T and her ability to concoct an all-important suppression turns out to be critical to the success of Avathar's journey. This is a book with a lot of potential. Very highly recommended.

Jamie Michele

Alkiviadis E. Halkiotis' The Scoundrel's Blade is a noteworthy addition to the epic fantasy genre and serves as the inaugural installment in the Chronicles of an Outcast series. The narrative unfolds in a world characterized by a scarcity of magic and the clandestine existence of the few remaining elven races. The protagonist, Avathar, an orphan wracked with nightmares, must undergo his rite of passage under the tutelage of his step-sister and closest confidant, Anadriel. During his final trial, Avathar is besieged by a demonic facsimile of himself, resulting in a violent outburst leading to the accidental death of Anadriel. Plagued by remorse and self-condemnation, Avathar embarks on an arduous quest to seek atonement. His journey unravels secrets about his heritage and his family's involvement in the Great War. To overcome the challenges posed by dangerous territories and adversaries seeking to exploit his abilities for their nefarious ends, Avathar must confront his inner demons and choose whether to yield to his guilt or rise above it to safeguard the world from impending darkness.

It's never easy taking on a new fantasy series because of the level of commitment required by a reader, especially when the book is written by an author we have not read before. Between learning about a new world, new social and magic structure, and sometimes even a new language, we put a great deal of trust in the writer that the faith we have in them will be worth it. In The Scoundrel's Blade by Alkiviadis E. Halkiotis, the reward is wonderful. Halkiotis writes cleanly with both engaging and easy-to-absorb prose, and dialogue that rings authentic. Avathar is a character you really do want to root for even when he does the unthinkable, and even though he does it to the deeply connective Anadriel. The introduction of the companion he creates in both a tenuous and fortuitous alliance with Denarlia, who he begins to call “Little Raven”, provides a counterbalance to the loss of one important character without robbing her of her own agency and distinct personality. Overall, this is a really well-constructed novel and I look forward to seeing where the series takes us next.