In a dark world filled with chaos and danger, where armies of ghouls and undead have overtaken the land; the good heroes fight a losing war against the undead Immortal Lord and are desperate for survival.
Meanwhile, the war refugees who carry the cursed Mark will turn into ghouls when they die. Instead of protecting them, the government of the City deems these refugees a threat and has ordered the army of Swordmasters to hunt them down. Only a rebel district is courageous enough to harbor these refugees at the expense of being labeled as traitors by the government. Can these refugees be saved?
Two HEROES need your help to journey with them. Come join their adventures now.
"Intense and fast paced, The Marked Ones is one of a kind gem that you rarely come across. This is an EPIC fantasy (emphasis on EPIC because it is so awesome) that will have you hooked from the get go... This is definitely one of those novels that you recommend to absolutely anyone who likes to read because it has the ability to appeal to all kinds of readers."
--Rabia Tanveer, a 5-star review on Readers' Favorite
"Nickey T. Hawke has created a rich and vast world that's chaotic and detailed, with a focus on characters that are outcasts... [it] is rich in story with action that feels almost cinematic, a story of survival and finding one's place in the world."
--Liz Konkel, a 5-star review on Readers' Favorite
WHAT IS THE STORY ABOUT
You will experience the story from the perspective of two protagonists working from the opposite factions. Gideon is a Swordmaster, an army police serving the City's government, and tasked with capturing the Marked refugees because they are seen as a threat to the safety of the citizens. When a Marked One dies, he/she returns as an undead ghoul, suitable for the Undead villains to use to conquer the good guys. On other hand, you have Kiera, a counselor from New Haven, a rebel district within the City, who wants to save the Marked refugees and get them to a safe sanctuary.
Trouble is bound to happen when both Gideon's Swordmasters and Kiera's New Haven rescue team are to clash over the refugees. A bigger trouble looms when an Undead horde is hunting the Marked refugees down. What a tough day to be a refugee, it seems.
Plot is fast-paced and action-filled. It keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Written in simple English, we believe that even pre-teen kids can fully grasp the storyline easily.
Also, you don't have to be a hardcore fantasy reader to enjoy these. It is extremely friendly for those who are unfamiliar with the fantasy genre, in the sense that it introduces the fantasy elements (like creatures, classes, magic, etc.) in a non-overwhelming way that is easy for newcomers to understand. On the other hand, of course hardcore fantasy readers (of Warhammers or Dungeons & Dragons sort) may find the fantasy elements not the main highlight of the story, but merely the means of telling the characters' stories.
Gideon's hero journey starts off with a reluctance to help the refugees. His moral dilemma ... how shall we say... truly puts you in a tough spot. With his position of power, yes, he can quietly help the refugees. But he's also a squad leader who cares for his teammates. If their squad is caught helping the refugees, they could face treason and death penalty.
Yet at the same, Gideon's new squad must perform well in their missions in order to score points. Squads that fail their mission will be put on serious evaluation by their superiors. How is Gideon supposed to maneuver through such tricky landmines?
Kiera is a very determined counselor assigned to her rescue team. Her team captain is focused on getting to their next destination quickly, at the expense of leaving behind refugees who couldn't keep up with the pace. Kiera occasionally has to secretly circumvent her captain's orders in order to ensure no refugees are left behind to die, with the risk of being banned from future missions because she disobeys her orders.
It's interesting to read Gideon and Kiera's journey in leading the people they are supposed to protect. They don't have all the resources available. Throw in the Undead enemies, and their chances of survival shrink even more. Yet with the limited resources they have, they know how to keep their team morale floating and make the best out of that situation.
The atmosphere of their current fantasy dystopian world is built mainly through the stories told by the protagonists. The entire story takes place within the scope of each protagonist's mission. With the political stories and history of their world told at the right scenes, it feels like there's an epic immense world out there to explore. Book 1 is only scratching the tip of that surface.
- Character-driven stories that put you into the two protagonists' emotions, having to make tough calls in difficult situations. You will root for these characters because they are not the most perfect heroes around, they are just trying to do the right thing at the best they can.
- Hints at an epic and huge world-building, with many political factions at play, and many more profession classes still unexplored, only briefly introduced through the backstories told by the characters.
- Does a good job setting up the story in Book 1 by establishing the protagonists' strong values and motivation. I believe future sequels will continue to build the stories upon the protagonists' strong values.
- Story is fast-paced and action-driven. It keeps you turning the pages. Feels like watching an episode TV series of an action show.