After a pilgrimage to the East Kingdoms seeking a blessing from the Fountain, source of the land’s magic, Sir Ransom Barton returns home in search of two dreams: Claire de Murrow, the heiress he loves, and a patron for his warrior skills. Unexpectedly, Ransom finds himself in the favor of Devon, the notorious Elder King. Brought into the ruler’s mesnie and given two wards of his own, Ransom is devoted to his privileged new position. He’s also privy to the running of the realm and to all its courtly intrigues—notably, the machinations of the king’s three remaining sons, all engaged in a manipulative battle to become heir to the throne.
As Ransom is thrust into the middle of poisonous family conspiracies and betrayals, allegiances are shattered, and Ransom fears he may end up serving his worst enemy—or worse, face exile for demonstrating loyalty.
Drawing on his developing powers, Ransom takes up arms against the dark forces coming in a war that will test the limits of his courage and determine the fate of the dangerous and fractious Argentine dynasty.
Goodreads’ Rating: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
Warrior’s Ransom is book two in a four-book series about an unlikely hero named Ransom, who started with nothing and ended up the one chosen to save a kingdom.
What I Love
Well, quite simply, I love everything about this story. Jeff Wheeler, who gets his inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, is such a masterful fantasy storyteller and his world-building and writing techniques are tops in the genre. This high fantasy story immediately pulled me into its immersive world with intricately developed characters and magic that is both subtle and awe-inspiring. He took parts and pieces from Medieval history and lore, including Arthurian legend, and he made it uniquely his own.
One of the small things that I love the most because I find it ingenious is the inclusion of letters written by Claire. They are short, only a page or two, but they are packed full of essential story components. They let the reader know Claire with an intimacy that can only be found in something as personal as a letter to a loved one. I love this natural look into her mind. The letters also provide a synopsis of the story in between events without adding hundreds of pages of exposition to do the same thing. And, the letters let the reader see the story from a by-standard point of view and not just the warrior and politicians. It’s incredible to me all the essential information contained in such short messages.
The relationships between characters are complex and riddled with conflicting emotions that reflect that complexity. Ransom and Claire have one of the sweetest, most natural love stories. Whether or not they will be permitted to be married is one of the most compelling aspects of the story and one of the biggest creators of tension. The king’s relationship with his sons is another. The themes of greed and power play out destructively in the royal family and make Ransom’s role all that more critical. Lastly, Alix’s role and her relationships with each character kept me on the edge of my seat as her story is just beginning to unfold.
I love the play of the building and the release of tension in the story. After the tension builds and builds and builds from one event to the next, the reader is permitted a reprieve where everything is right with the world for a time. Then the tension builds and builds again, only to culminate in that relief I needed as a reader and was grateful to be given. Also, relatedly, I loved that this book in the series ended with a soft conclusion and not with a cliffhanger. It was absolutely the way I enjoy it the most.
To Read or no to Read
If you love high fantasy, especially if you have not ever read a Jeff Wheeler novel, your library is not complete without this series. It truly has it all and then some.