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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
An epic adventure that takes on a biblical theme with an allegorical twist, The Victor: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, and Sacrifice by Marlayne Giron is bound to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The story opens with Baron Lucius of North Umberland waiting with unease and fury in the frigid weather as his men lose the element of surprise against their attack to overthrow the king. Lucius wants to possess the mightiest and most mysterious weapon that the king wields. A sword named Ephlal has an awesome capability to decimate an entire army with a mere point of its blade or render an enemy harmless with the spoken word. Lucius flees, leaving a trail of blood and mayhem, but he is determined to fight another day and claim what he believes is rightfully his.
One of the fascinating aspects of this story is Marlayne Giron’s sharp attention to detail. I couldn’t help but squirm as she describes how an enemy impales and eviscerates a knight with a dagger. It's like a cross between Narnia and Game of Thrones. The events in this story may appear fantastical as they hinge on a biblical scenario, but they have a human and earthly scale if we consider the conflict and story arc. The personalities of the battling knights are reminiscent of the angels and demons in the Apocrypha (books omitted from the Bible), yet the king’s relationship with his faithful knights is on the same level as King Arthur and those who sit with him at the Round Table. Lucius’s fixation on getting hold of the sword is just half of the storyline. Joshua, who is destined to inherit the sword, provides a romantic angle to the story along with his betrothed, Llyonesse. The Victor is a wonderful fantasy adventure that all readers will surely enjoy.