The Gift - The Chronicles of Tucker Littlefield
by Tegon Maus
GENRE: Fantasy Action / Adventure
Tucker Littlefield is a liar, a thief, a con-man. In an attempt to take advantage of a party thrown by the King, he becomes involved in the kidnapping of the King’s niece, Elizabeth. Injured, he is saved by a shaman who turns Tucker into a Soul Bearer who is enslaved by its power, compelled to devour the souls of the dead. "I am Tucker Littlefield. Know all that I say now is true-spoken.”
In his right hand, he held a bent stick. He waved it at the dog and grunted at it to frighten it away. Lifting his head high, he sniffed at the air and turned slowly.
"Norha. Where there is one, there is three," Bowen whispered.
We sat motionless for what seemed like forever, watching the creature with the stick. The dog made a wide circle around him, no bark, and no sound. The man refused to make eye contact with it, pretending it wasn't there.
He kicked at the dirt, searching for what? At last, he bent to pick something up. He held it in a clenched fist over his head and howled. From about his waist he took an object, tied to a piece of sinew. As he spun it, a deep, low throng, something akin to a roar arose, filling the air.
"Roar of the Bear," Bowen whispered, nodding toward the man and his signal.
We sank lower into our hiding. Just as he had predicted two more of the Norha appeared from the trees. They sniffed at the air just as the first had done and turned suspiciously. Satisfied, they inspected his find. He held out his hand to them as they spoke in low grunting tones to one another. I didn't understand their language but apparently Bowen could. His body stiffened.
I tried to divide my attention between the three and the look now spread over his face. He pressed his hand to my shoulder, pushing me lower, indicating I should stay hidden.
"Each is blaming the other, they're looking, they're looking for Elizabeth," he whispered, getting up.
Something was moving toward me through the underbrush. I held my breath and pushed as low as I could. It was Enon's dog, Noget.
He snuffled his way to me and leaned against me, protecting me with his body just as Bowen had before disappearing into the trees.
This is one of those books I could put into the love it or hate it category. Although I really don't think anyone could hate it, some may find it a confusing read. I have not read full fantasy in a while so there were parts that I did reread to be sure I understood. This is a story with layers.Other reviews said they wished Tegon Maus had done more world building. I felt the world building was fantastic. I was pulled in as Tucker told his tale. Both Tucker Littlefield and Tegon Maus are amazing story tellers. If you find a few scenes slower than others, do not quit as the rest of the book is worth your attention. Building legend and fears into a worthwhile read
Humor and adventure color this dangerous fantasy escape. The very end left me wondering what lurks just beyond view.