Knights of the Withering Flame is the start of a magical story named A Saga of Sword and Stone by Kyle R. Zeller. It is a book deeply rooted in Arthurian legends, but the branches of the tree flower a fresh perspective. In a way, it is a sequel to King Arthur's story. It sheds light on what happened to him, and Zeller cautiously weaves together those mythological times with our modern days.
This fantasy adventure novel centers on a 15-year-old teenager named Garith and his unique early graduation. Although he starts out as an average boy, who leads a pretty troubled family life, he escapes into a magical realm where he is far more than average. Kyle R. Zeller draws an interesting parallel between the troubled family life of Garith and the turmoil in the magical realm he enters. While this realm is foreign both to our main characters and our readers, it is still vaguely familiar. The inhabitants and the magical elements that build it are inspired from other fantasy worlds, but they are unique enough to stand on their own. So, there is a sense of a warm welcoming feel despite the chilly dangers lurking in the shadows. Basically, it is about the eternal war between the shadows and the light. But, this confrontation is set on many planes, both geographical ones – where the armies of the two sides fight – and immaterial ones – where invisible forces battle on the field of human conscience.
Garith's journey stretches over not only a spatial dimension, but most importantly, over a psychological one as well. He will have to grow into the role of the Protector and help save a world from annihilation. The responsibility that weighs heavily on him will either break him, or he will swiftly grow muscles and carry it. You will have to read Knights of the Withering Flame to find out.
Although, Garith does not have to go through such a drastic metamorphosis on his own. His family continues to be a strong presence throughout his adventures and he also forms tight bonds with two other teenagers, Selena and Blaine. Nourishing their friendship will not be easy because it is going to be challenged every step of their journey. Also, benevolent knights and wizards (even a shape shifter and a dragon tamer) will serve Garith as guides and tutors. In fact, these are the three most influential types of relationships in any person's development: family, friends and mentors. We learn different precious lessons from each source and their hearth forges our character.
Sacrifice plays a big part in Kyle R. Zeller's story. Garith is confronted with more loss than most people are at his age and he must learn to accept these and ultimately make his own sacrifices. So, when reading the book you should be careful to which character you get close to … In this sense, the events described have a crude realism, one that we almost wish they did not have.
While Knights of the Withering Flame by Kyle R. Zeller might appeal mostly to a younger audience, it has multiple levels of interpretation, so it will entertain readers of all ages.