Welcome to Branchwater. The castle and town sit in the Mithildrin Forest. Never heard of it? Me neither, but once you read “Branchwater” you will be glad that you did. Branchwater is a place where humans and Mantlik’s reside peacefully. Mantliks were beings created by human temple priests six-hundred years ago. Their original purpose was to aid in the protection of humans. They were created during a time when humans lived with God and his council of seven advisors, who were known as the Anahalmists. The council got jealous of God’s power, so they killed humans. Almost all of the humans were banished to another continent. The Anahalmists kept some behind to so that they had people to rule over and experiment on. They were never able to create life on their own.
Now Branchwater is under attack. At first they aren’t sure who is attacking, but they realize that it is the First Army from the First Continent. The attacking soldiers are humans who have been magically and miserably kept alive all of these years. Greta is a mantlike champion fighter who is over 600-years old. She is called to help in this battle. Her son Hugo and niece Desirae also have roles to play. Accidentally finding a surprise in the castle basement, Desirae and Greta discover an unusual means to help the battle. Desirae also forms a strange alliance with someone unexpected. He helps her with learning the history of her people and to work on her secret magical skills. Greta needs all the help that she can get to win this battle.
“Branchwater” is a fantastically-written fantasy novel that will be enjoyed by all ages, from preteen to adult. It is appropriately written so that it can be enjoyed by everyone. Steven Maus does an excellent job setting the story up so that you are instantly hooked. I appreciated that he managed to fill in the background information about Branchwater and its people in a way that you were able to jump headfirst into this foreign land with an understanding of the people. “Branchwater” is sure to be a keeper. I look forward to future fantasies written by Maus.