Tuesday, May 31, 2016

by Patricia Reding

This week, I’m deviating from my normal blog post format of reviewing children’s books to feature Patricia Reding, author of OATHTAKER, the first novel in her Fantasy series. The second volume is SELECT.  I met Patricia through the 2015 Literary Classics Award Program. Here's the OATHTAKER synopsis:

An Oath Sworn. A Struggle Engaged. A Sacrifice Required.
When Mara, a trained Oathtaker, is drawn by the scent of the Select to battle underworld beasts summoned by powers of evil to destroy the guardians of life, she swears an oath for the protection of her charge. 
Armed with a unique weapon and her attendant magic, and with the aid of her Oathtaker cohorts, two ancients and a spymaster, Mara seeks safety for her charge from one who would end Oosa’s rightful line of rule and from assassins who endeavor to bring ruin to the land.
As Mara puzzles to decipher ancient prophecy concerning her charge, as she is haunted with memories of her own past failings, she discovers the price her oath will exact. 
To renounce her word would be treasonous; to fail, ruinous; to persevere, tortuous.
Abiding by an oath requires sacrifice.
There are five interview questions to introduce Ms. Reding’s series. I posted the first two questions on Monday, the third today, the fourth on Wednesday, and the fifth question on Thursday:

3. What would you consider the five best works you have ever read and why do you rank them amongst the best?
I have to go back to the classics for most of these.  The first is without a doubt, Les Miserables.  Victor Hugo is chief among writers who have told stories of self sacrifice.  But, it is not just the story with Hugo.  It is his words.  They are pure artistry.  I love to just open Les Miserables and find a description of a person, for example.  Hugo can tell you all you need to know about that character by describing the things the character has experienced or his surrounds.  Take Bishop Myriel, for example—a man so selfless that he gave ninety percent and kept ten.  Or, how about the street urchin boy, Gavroche.  Find the passage that describes him.  Or, consider how you learn all you need to know about Javert through Hugo’s discussion of his family and origins.  Poetry, all.

Victor Hugo takes the second spot also, with The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Whatever else others might think the story is about, to me it is a story about the power of the spoken word.  When you curse and curse and curse someone (as Sister Gueule does of Esmerelda), some day that curse may just come about.  Woe be to you if it turns out that the person cursed is the wrong one!

In the third spot, I have to list all things Charles Dickens.  It took me some time to figure him out, but when I did I immersed myself in his works.  The stories are completely irrelevant to me.  All that matters to me is the way he describes people, places and things.  Who can forget the aunt in Little Dorrit that was “left” to a young man (or was it his grieving widow?)?  You remember!  She wore a yellow wig “slightly askew” upon her head.  Who can read the first chapters of Great Expectations and not howl in laughter?  I read it to my teen girls out loud and laughed so hard that tears rolled down.  I simply could not stop.  Who can read of Miss Havisham and not feel they’ve met her?  And so on, and so on, and so on. . . .

The fourth place could go to so many works, that it is hard for me to pick a single one, but one that does come to mind just now is Tess of d’Ubervilles.  I can’t say why except that Thomas Hardy’s characters are just so tragic—and Tess not the least among them.  The happenstance of a note not delivered in the manner anticipated can change an entire future. . . .  Or, how about Edith Wharton’s Lily Bart in The House of Mirth?  Another tragic character is she.

Finally, I have to put something more modern on the list, so I must go with Terry Goodkind.  My favorites in the SWORD OF THE TRUTH series were Wizard’s First Rule, Faith of the Fallen, and Confessor.  (“He’s going to start a war!”)  (Did I happen to mention that I adore Goodkind?)


Information about OATHTAKER and author Patricia Reding is at  

Come back tomorrow for the next interview question.
Oathtaker, Fantasy, Patricia Reding, Magic, Sword and Sorcery