Published October 30, 2013
With a curse, she will build an army.
With the dagger, she will undo the last sacrifice.
But first the sorceress must find the secret keeper.
Torn from her homeland and thrust into a betrothal against her wishes, Ayianna learns her family has a deadly secret that now has her on the run. She joins forces with Kael, an embittered half-elf, and Saeed, an elderly High Guardian, to seek answers to her father’s death, the destruction of Dagmar, and the plains people’s bizarre behavior.
Ayianna discovers there is more at stake here than just her mother’s disappearance and her familial duty to her betrothed. The sorceress has cursed the plains people, and it is a race against time to release them before the sorceress resurrects an ancient evil.
What sets Secrets Kept apart from the books in the same genre?
Fantasy is such an awesome genre. There are so many variations like urban, epic, high, low, quest, sword and sorcery, etc. But even among the variations there are similarities whether in themes, people, or creatures, the difference is the life the author gives the characters, the setting, and the storyline. Every book is an adventure waiting to happen, and Secrets Kept is no different. It is a story of a young girl’s journey into adulthood while she struggles with her family’s secrets, broken dreams, and who to trust. It is the battle of good and evil, and a start of a quest. Very much standard fantasy fare.
The setting begins in the typical European medieval fantasy that many books have used, and I have loved. Yes, there is stew. I know, the forbidden food of modern fantasy. But then the story branches out to embrace other cultures as I am a lover of them. Borrowing from different ones I’ve studied, I’ve constructed other nations that contrast with the European setting. And that’s the beauty of a quest! We get to visit and experience other cultures through their customs, architecture, food, and more.
The world of Nälu contains staple fantasy people groups and creatures such as elves, dwarves, giants, fairies, dragons, and even a mention of unicorns, but whether or not they existed is still debatable. In Nälu, there is more to discover. I have the Haruzo, the feline shape-shifters. One nation at the edge of the desert; one nestled in the Kha Vaaro Mountain range. And my favorite, the Kaleki. The nation of merpeople are the only ones who are able to breed and raise dragons. Altogether, there are eight people groups and each with their own language, but that is nothing new.
And then we have the quest. It isn’t just a journey to complete, but what the characters will learn and overcome. Although the original allegory has long since been set aside, remnants remain. If you are a Christian, perhaps you will see them, perhaps not. Maybe they only exist in my mind. Either way, I hope the adventure carries readers away and burns on in their hearts long after the pages are closed.
About the author:
Writing as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is an author, artist, mother, wife, but not always in that order. Born and raised in Minnesota, she now braves the heat of Texas, but pines for the Northern Lights and the lakes of home every autumn. She loves trying to capture the abstract and make it concrete. She is currently living her second childhood with a wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and books, among other things. While living life balanced between reality and dreams, she is creating worlds inhabited by all sorts of fantasy creatures and characters, all questing about and discovering true love amid lots of peril. Her debut novel, Secrets Kept, is coming this fall, and in the meantime be on the lookout for a few short stories set in the World of Nälu.