"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


The Craftsman
(Tales of the Order)
by Candace Sams

Titan Press
March 1, 2006
Available: February 28, 2006
ISBN #1598361120
EAN #9781598361124
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Other Books by
Candace Sams

Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller
The Gazing Globe
Gryphon's Quest
My Brother's Keeper
Goblin Moon
Stone Heart
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