Saturday, November 12, 2022

Quest Of Fire: Desperation By Brett Armstrong

Desperation JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Quest of Fire: Desperation by Brett Armstrong, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I received the ebook to help facilitate this review.


Quest of Fire: Desperation Title: Quest of Fire: Desperation 
Series: Quest of Fire #4 
Author: Brett Armstrong 
Publisher: Expanse Books 
Release Date: September 13, 2022 
Genre: Christian, Epic Fantasy

Guarding his nation’s last hope, a teen must escape enemy lands.

While Anargen, Caeserus, and Bertinand are held captive in Stormridge, the war to restore Ecthelowall’s Commonwealth has been waged for months. Their friend Terrillian is on its frontline and hopes are high.

For Barons Fenwrest and Sornfold the fight is too close to their children, whose union represents the only viable challenge to the Monarchists claim to Ecthelowall’s ancient throne. Enter Thomas Fenwrest, an orphan and page to Sir Hurstwell, who is captain of Baron Fenwrest’s guard. The pair must escort the teens to Castle Yerst expecting boredom to be their only danger. Everything quickly spirals out of control when the Monarchists somehow deliver a devastating blow to the Restoration army and Thomas and Sir Hurstwell face the increasingly difficult task of keeping their charges alive. Ancient sorcery and bitter grudges combine to ensnare them. As desperation sets in for the Restoration and Thomas, to where will they turn for hope?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound

My Review:

So, this story took a bit of getting into like the previous one. I think it would've been a good idea for me to read the ending of book 3 before starting book 4 to get an idea of what I was walking into with this next story. Unlike the previous book, this one doesn't switch between time periods until the epilogue. I was a bit disappointed (just a personal note) that we didn't get a "new era" time period. lol

We get to know Thomas, a teen who no longer has the hope of ascending the throne, but his simpering cousin is next in line. As they try to escort Delia and Mia to safety everything goes awry. If you like non-stop action that involves swords and armor, this story is definitely for you.

As Mia and Thomas work out their personal differences, they start to work very well together. Terrillian, from the previous story shows up on the scene and really does a great job of leading them.

The faith element throughout this story is fantastic! I love that when the characters rely on the High King we see His power! It reminds the reader over and over that choosing to walk in the light and with the Light is the best choice, but it IS a choice. I think for young adults who might be reading this story will be bolstered in their faith!

Book Excerpt:

Standing in the servants’ corridor within Port Valence’s keep, Thomas understood why he hadn’t been able to get a bearing on the structure’s location. Beyond his mystical poisoning—the nature of which he was still skeptical about—there was no spotting it from where he’d been. The keep wasn’t at the highest point like many other fortified cities. Instead, the soaring cliffs and solidarity of Ecthelowall’s ancient claims to the lands around Port Valence had led its defensive architects to focus on repelling invaders from the sea. As such, its castle and keep were built wrapped in the arms of its harbor. The sea breaking against its stalwart grey stones, dozens of feet below the castle, made one of the most unique, impressive fortifications Thomas had ever seen. And the most disheartening. Môrmawr Castle, as it was named, boasted two towers loaded with ballista, two more with modern mortars, and cannons lining its curtain wall. All of which deterred invaders from the sea. But the slopes worked against Môrmawr when attacked from land. If the defenses at the city’s gate fell, the invaders would have the high ground and almost certainly overthrow the castle in less than a day. 

Knowing the tenuous position they were in made being stuck here, “where he belonged,” all the more painful. Hurstwell had given him an apologetic look when he’d been ushered out of the main hall after delivering Mia. He had earned a place at the tables where the strategy for winning the day was discussed. When he presented Mia to the group, Delia had rushed over, kissed him on the cheek, and declared him a hero. It was at that moment Mia decided to unceremoniously skewer him by revealing she had rescued him more so than the other way around.

Thomas bet that would spawn some boisterous jokes at his expense from those in the room later. And if not among them, then certainly among the other watchmen and guards with whom he’d have to share shifts at watch.

Pity no one kept court like in the old days. He was shaping up to be a prime apprentice for the court jester. “With my luck as it’s been, Gregor will become Monarch, and that’s exactly what I’ll be. His court jester.”

A pang of guilt hit him. It wasn’t right to speak that way, particularly not this moment. Not when Gregor was as still as the grave, and the Mayor of Valence’s physicians had already exhausted their craft to no avail.

Had his father not bankrupted his family by investing so heavily in the merchant fleet that was destroyed in reprisals for Ecthelowall’s privateering, Thomas might be the one engaged to Delia. Part of him ached with longing at that notion. Another part he couldn’t ignore found that unthinkable. He chalked that up to feeling like he had betrayed Mark’s memory with the thought.

Sighing, he produced the spiritsword Terrillian had given him. It was a long sword and a little broader than any swords he had practiced with. Because of the war, he wasn’t even accorded a dagger for his duties. Then again, he was never assigned any task for which Hurstwell wasn’t present. Hurstwell could be aptly called Armed-well. It was good to be entrusted with something valuable like this. Even if, in his hands, its silvery surfaces didn’t quite gleam the way they did in Terrillian’s hands. Nor did the inscriptions glow white hot and issue flames that enwrapped the blade. He traced some of the words inscribed on it, repeating them softly to himself as he did. Midway through “I fear no danger, for the Hight King is with me,” he felt something sting his finger and he yelped. His eyes widened. There were ruddy hues shimmering within the lettering on the spiritsword that gave off heat. 

He wanted to drop it. He couldn’t bear to drop it. Then everything went black.

Black, but not dark, because he could see clearly. At first, he was alone in a wide clearing, reminiscent of Primrose Glade. In the distance was an indistinct shape against the horizon. It was bitter cold, though without wind or any sign of winter. “Where am I?”

A sound like thunder boomed, resounding as though he were in a cave instead of a tableland. To Thomas’s wonder, he understood the thunder as words. He found his legs obeying almost on their own, and he walked until he saw the shape of a tower. It had at its top a light that burned low. All around, the fading embers of the tower’s light high above cast a preternatural auburn pall upon the area all around its base. It set his nerves on edge, but even at the periphery of the light’s touch, he knew it accorded precious warmth. But the thunder spoke again, and he knew he could not enter the light’s enclosure.

As the light faded, its circle of radiance retracted. It was then Thomas noticed something stirring. Looking through the light cast by the tower, he could see ... things. Monstrous things, hideous and numerous, such as he had never dared encounter in his most horrific nightmares. These creatures were edging towards the tower as its luminous dominion diminished. Thomas shifted his position and realized that it was only through the tower’s light that he could see the encroaching army. The hairs on his neck stood on end. Though he could not see them, he was also surrounded by a fiendish horde. 

Thomas began swaying. The terror had slipped inch by icy inch into his bones, and he thought for sure he would drop dead from fright. But the thunder boomed and pulled his attention back to the tower. Somehow its light had faltered so much since he last looked that no aura of protective light now existed. Instead, four figures of light stood on each side in defense of the tower.

All at once a feral cry, wicked and wild, went up from all around, and all the terrible creatures once hidden were revealed. They converged on the tower and its sentinels. Some beasts clambered up the sides of the protectors; others smashed into them and the tower, over and over. Sounds of stone cracking began to mix with gleeful revelry expressed by the creatures in growls and hisses and voices disgustingly sweet and disastrously acerbic. Desperation seized Thomas’s heart. Somehow, he knew if the tower fell, all would be lost. And Thomas stood watching the end of all good, completely incapable of staying the ruinous tide.

The thunder boomed louder than before. Pulling not only his eyes but the eyes of all those against the tower to it. Above the tower, a vortical storm of lightning streaked clouds   glowered on the assembled enemies below, and with a sound like a rushing waterfall or dam breaking forth, the storm alit with fire and burst forth onto tower, setting the tower’s beacon ablaze with a flash of light and heat so powerful it blew Thomas off of his feet. Thomas closed his eyes, certain the splendor alone would kill him.

Instead, the heat faded with a suddenness that left him frigid. He dared not open his eyes again until the salty scent of the sea and the tepid balminess of Port Valence edged into his senses and bid him to chance it. Looking around, all was the same as before, except the perspective was off. It took a moment to realize the one thing different about the room was that he was lying on the rough stone floor, curled up tight.

What had he just seen? Was it an after-effect of his poisoning?

A thought that did not feel as though it had originated with him pressed fiercely into his consciousness. The one part of him not curled in fear was an outstretched arm. In its hand clenched the spiritsword. Warmth radiated from it, and he had the distinct impression it had told him what he’d just experienced was a vision. 

The term vision tangled in conjured imaginings of the Oracles of Tislatna and other mythical fancies along with charlatan soothsayers. But no, this was different. How he knew it to be different was as mysterious as the vision itself. 

A sudden sound shattered the stillness of his inward thoughts. It was followed by another and another like it. A faint tremor ran through the stones of the hall. Canon fire.


Brett Armstrong

Brett Armstrong, author of the prize-winning novel, Destitutio Quod Remissio, started writing stories at age nine, penning a tale of revenge and ambition set in the last days of the Aztec Empire. Twenty years later, he still tells stories enriched by his Christian faith and a master’s degree in creative writing. His goal with every work is to be like a brush in the Master artist’s hand and his hope is the finished composition always reflects the design God had in mind. He writes to engage, immerse, and entertain with deep, thoughtful stories. Continually busy at work with one or more new novels to come, he also enjoys drawing, gardening, and playing with his beautiful wife and son. Brett’s book The Gathering Dark is a 2020 Selah Awards Finalist in the Speculative Fiction category.

Connect with Brett by visiting to follow him on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


(2) winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card, a copy of Quest of Fire: Desperation, a digital map of the western Lowlands, a digital copy of a limited-release short story about a character in Desperation, and Quest of Fire's theme music.

Quest of Fire: Desperation JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 8, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 15, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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