"Fantastic flight of fantasy, complete with heinous plot!"
Gawain O'Malley, a Druid, is the Craftsman for the Order.
As the Craftsman, he feels responsible for the fire which
destroyed all the artwork the Order had completed, and took
the lives of nine of his friends; Gawain was the only one
who made it out alive. Not only that, Gawain lost his right
hand in the fire too. They all figured the fire started
from a kiln. Not only is the Order facing financial ruin
with the loss of the art, but with his right hand gone now,
Gawain knows he won't be able to produce the same kind of
work he once did as the famous Deforest. After all, his art
brought in more money than all the other work combined.
Without the money Gawain's art will bring in, the Order
won't be able to keep their security up and the Outsiders
will find them and destroy them. And to top it all, the
Sorceress won't allow Gawain to step down as the Craftsman.
Racked with guilt and pain, Gawain takes all the medication
he can find and runs away. He ends up in Scotland in pretty
bad shape and is found by the local branch of the Order.
The Sorceress comes and takes him back to England and
oversees his rehabilitation. Now he's in even worse shape,
having lost a lot of weight and still consumed with guilt.
It turns out the fire wasn't an accident. Somebody messed
with the gas line and intentionally set the fire! So Gawain
is determined to take vengeance for the lives of his nine
friends. When Gawain's father finally comes to see him and
curses at Gawain for being a weakling and not fit to be
Craftsman, Gawain becomes determined to save the Order.
While he may not be able to create art himself, he can
still be the Craftsman and oversee everything.
Wren Fitzgerald, granddaughter of Troda leader of the
Brownies, will do what she can to help the Order. As a
Brownie, she has wonderful organizational skills along with
the ability to calm people. When Wren meets Gawain, she is
instantly attracted to him and experiences the heart
quickening. Unfortunately for Wren, she is to be handfasted
to Wyck per an agreement her grandfather made. Wren has
never been attracted to Wyck in that way. She loves Wyck as
a friend and that's about it. In her room, Wren feels the
urge to bless the cottage Gawain will be working in. So she
takes her crane bag, and by the light of the moon, makes
her way to the cottage. Turns out Gawain is there and the
two of them experience a vision together.
Well, one of the showings couldn't be cancelled, and the
owner is demanding Deforest's work. Gawain decides to
create doors from the vision he shared with Wren. While on
his way back to the cottage one night, he meets some
unexpected people and ends up getting shot, which is
unheard of within the Order. No one in the Order uses guns;
they all use medieval weapons. Now Gawain knows there is a
plot of some kind and he is determined to discover what it
is. The only way he can do this is to distance everyone he
cares about, including his family and Wren.
Is there hope for a future between Gawain and Wren? Who is
behind the fire, which took nine lives? Gawain knows it is
more than one person, but who could they be? Will Gawain be
able to complete his art before the showing? Will they make
enough money to enable the Order to survive?
THE CRAFTSMAN is a thrilling fantasy story. Candace Sams
has done her usual wonderful job of bringing these mythical
beings to life in this exciting story. We have secondary
characters of elves, fairies, even trolls. We have a
wonderful story of personal growth as we watch Gawain go
from being a self-centered egotistical artist, to being
riddled with guilt feeling responsible for the death of his
friends. Then he finds out he wasn't responsible and the
fire was set deliberately, he becomes full of anger and
hate and only thinking of revenge. Gawain must learn to let
go of the hate and finally become the leader he was meant
to be. The one woman who could help him through this, he
pushes away. Not only do we have a story with a heinous
plot, we also have the pleasure of reading of a love meant
to be—one ordained by the Goddess herself through the
vision Gawain and Wren share. I can't wait until the rest
of the stories in the TALES OF THE ORDER series comes out.
They already have a place in my keeper shelf. If you enjoy
a good fantasy, this series is sure to please.
Reviewed by Chere Gruver
Posted November 10, 2006