Time to meet the leading four!

First up Corin an Fol: orphan, mercenary and Longswordsman. Corin has a troubled past that works against him; he yearns for solace from war and strife. But he’s got an attitude problem. Corin loves complicated women, but lacks the finesse to hook them, becoming tongue-tied and clumsy. He’s lethal with that blade of his, and reckless brave when fighting (which is almost every day.) During the quest for the lost crown (the Tekara) Corin discovers worrying new things about himself, and weird secrets from his childhood unravel. More worryingly he finds he is at the mercy of three strong women: two are mortal hell-cats, the third mysterious and bewitching – something else entirely. For looks Corin is tall, rangy, with long dark hair – think Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans.

Next up Cailine. Hell-Cat 1: this princess is feisty, self reliant and doesn’t suffer fools. She leads the quest for the Tekara and looks to find her cousin – the disgraced Prince Tarin. Cailine is skilled with sword and bow. She’s a fine tactician and is tougher than most the men she leads. As the story unfolds Cailine takes a shine to Corin (her bit of rough.) But when her other cousin (Shallan) comes on board things get complicated. Cailine is comely to gaze upon: five foot two inches tall, black haired and brown eyed. she’s quickminded and lithe, artful and very tenacious.

Now Barin of Valkador. Think farting viking and you have him. Barin is rather large – almost eight feet tall and wide as a door. An experienced sea farer and successful trader, Barin captains the brigantine The Starlight Wanderer, which features much throughout the trilogy. This big middle-aged lad harbours a blood feud against his distant cousins – the sons of Leeth, and often becomes moody whilst in his cups. His double-headed battleaxe he alone can heft. That said, Barin has a soft side, likes gambling and drinks too much. Cailine values his opinion. Downside – he suffers from habitual wind. It’s why he spends so much time at sea.

Shallan. Hell-Cat 2: Cailine’s cousin and childhood rival. Shallan is a looker: blue-grey eyes and soft tumbling brown hair. She is passionate and headstrong – has faerie blood running in her veins (though of this she has no notion.) Exiled from her country at the start of the war, Shallan is determined to return, but becomes caught up with events in the south.She and Corin are recklessly drawn to each other after a meeting at council. But fate tears them apart soon after.Shallan teaches herself the bow whilst at the seige of Calprissa, and becomes more than proficient in its use.Shallan (like Corin) is haunted by strange rumours hinting at her past. As the fable’s thread unravels she and Cailine are set to cross bigtime. As for Vervandi the third woman and all the other guys – watch and wait. JW