The Dream King’s Courier: Payback by Patrice Sikora

KING
The Dream King’s Courier: Payback by Patrice Sikora
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (409 Pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Animal Control Officer Gwen Revmore has no use for the gods. They’ve never answered any of her prayers-even after a tragic accident leaves her husband dead, and her young son gravely injured.

But after her estranged grandfather shows up at the hospital to urge her to try one more time to save the boy, Gwen decides there’s nothing left to lose. She asks Nathao, the powerful King of Dreams, for help, and he agrees to save Sam-but like most favors, the help will come at a price.

King Nathao needs to replace an employee killed in an attack on his lands, and he promises to save Gwen’s son if she agrees to take on that very important job of Courier. Gwen will work closely with Nathao’s other staff, including her grandfather, and serve as the King’s public face for his congregations around the world. She will also be his official emissary to other gods.

Gwen soon finds herself caught in a dangerous conflict as Nathao and rival god Bayel struggle for followers and power. In a world where gods are created and shaped by human belief, these beings will stop at nothing to gain more worshippers-regardless of who is caught in the crossfire.

Most of us would do nearly anything to save a loved one. Gwen Revmore is no exception. When a horrific car accident takes the life of her husband and leaves her son, Sam, critically injured, Gwen, who never had any time for the gods, pleads with the god Nathao, the powerful King of Dreams. Timing is everything. Nathao has just suffered the loss of two of his mortal employees at the hands of the rival god Bayel. Nathao grants Gwen’s wish, but in return, she will now serve him as his new Courier, his representative to the other gods and the most powerful of his mortal employees.

The Dream King’s Courier is an engaging fantasy novel with a most interesting philosophical premise. The gods need followers and in turn the gods grant requests. As Lord Veron, the Lord Justiciar of the gods says, “We need the faith of committed followers to feed our strength so we have the power to support their needs and answer their petitions. Of course, that in turn confirms their faith and commitment. It’s the Great Circle.”

I found the characters, especially Gwen, to be fully developed and believable. The gods and the various mortals have their strengths and weaknesses, and Gwen has to learn how to navigate a totally new reality. She tries to stand up to Nathao and tell him what to do and not do with her children, and she quickly learns that it doesn’t pay to contradict a god. At the same time, Nathao respects her and over time, their working relationship develops and changes. In addition, Gwen needs to work with the riders, Nathao’s other mortal employees, and to assert her authority over them in a way that doesn’t also alienate them.

The pacing is excellent, and once I got into the book, I found it very difficult to put down. However, I wasn’t immediately drawn into the story. I found that the first two chapters left me wondering why I was reading it. I continued, because I did have to review the book, and I am ever so glad I did. From the opening of the third chapter I was totally hooked and from then on, I was caught up in the details of the gods’ realm, the intrigue and excitement of the conflict between Nathao and Bayel, and the non-stop action of the plot. The information from the first two chapters is relevant. It just didn’t grab me until I knew why it was relevant.

Readers of fantasy are sure to enjoy The Dream King’s Courier. The story not only has a number of interesting and exciting plot twists, but the setting is fascinating, and there are a plethora of interesting characters who support or try to stop Gwen on her missions as Nathao’s courier. I look forward to reading more of Gwen’s adventures.

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