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A slim volume you can swallow in one melancholy winter afternoon, best with sips of a mellow amber whisky with undertones of peat, Priya Sharm's Ormeshadow (Tor.com, 2019) is about more about human beasts than the actual dragon that slumbers under the earth. The fraternal archetypes; the civilized and the wild brother, are seen through the eyes of a bewildered child, Gideon, who becomes a man during the course of the story.

The two brothers in question are Gideon’s father and uncle. Gideon’s father, John, is a scholar, happy with books, but also bound to the land (and what lies under it.) Uncle Thomas, first described in a sentence that can be read several ways, is a dark man. When Gideon’s father, John, is forced to bring his family back to the farm where he and Thomas grew up, familial competition raises its ugly head. From a lone mysterious carved chair to John’s beautiful wife, everything seems to be contested ground. John often yields both to his demanding wife and his volatile brother, Thomas. It seems Gideon, who has inherited John’s gentle nature, is fated to be an underdog as well.

But Gideon’s kindness and gentleness have won him protection among forces more powerful than men.

Gabrielle Mathieu is the author of the historical fantasy Falcon series and the epic fantasy Berona’s Quest series, beginning with Girl of Fire (watch the trailer: http://bit.ly/2KFOQhb). She blogs about travel and her books at http://gabriellemathieu.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor.

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