A Promise of Return

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Book Information

Title: A Promise of Return
Author: Rebecca Crunden
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre: Sci Fi | Dystopian | Adventure
Publication Date: November 3, 2017
ISBN: 9781978487147
Pages: 281

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CW/TW: Violence | Slavery | Murder | Abuse

Nate had fought the system. Thom had learned to manipulate it.

These people existed within it, resigned. It bothered him more than he could put into words, though he wasn’t sure why.

Rebellion had never appealed to him before…

A Promise of Return Synopsis

When Thom Anteros is arrested after breaking into the Building of Historical Records, he demands to be taken before the King. A laughable demand for anyone else, Thom’s request is granted and the King spares his life. Yet what’s to become of him is left in the hands of the one person Thom truly fears – Mickey Taenia, the King’s Hangman.

Infuriated by Thom’s refusal to reveal the whereabouts of Nate and Catherine, the Hangman sends Thom to one of the worst places in the Kingdom – the slave markets of Muntenia. It is there that Thom is bought for the Red Arena: a barbaric, gladiator-type competition where the children of convicts and other unlucky souls are forced to fight to the death.

Twenty wins is release. One loss is death.

With the help of Charles Thoreau, a fellow captive, Thom begins not only to survive, but to thrive. A master of words becomes a master of death, and Thom’s prowess in the arena frightens even him.

But death isn’t the only thing haunting Thom. As the days go by, he dreams of his brother, and the promise he cannot forget.

I will return.

A Promise of Return Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Promise of Return is the third book in Rebecca Crunden’s Outlands Pentalogy and I’ll just say it does not suffer from middle book syndrome! In this installment, the reader follows the story of Thomas Anteros from when he left Kitty and Nate in his home to the present. What Thomas goes through in this story is horrific. When he left Kitty and Nate, they were infected and sick. Thom fears their fate as he in locked away and presumed dead by everyone. When he cannot name where NAte would take Kitty, the Hangman decides on a different fate for Thom. One that would assume death, while also giving him a long shot at his freedom. Win twenty death matches, don’t die in training and most importantly, don’t get traded…or you start all over again. How will Thom, who mastered the world through manipulation and words, handle this new world of violence and death. And most importantly, how will this change him?

Thom goes through a lot of challenges that he never thought he would face in his lifetime. The decisions he made for caused him a lot of grief and throughout the novel, he grapples with what happened to Nate and Kitty. His journey really shows the depths of the cruelty of the Kingdom of Cutta. While there is light through the friendships and relationships he makes in the darkness of places, the situation he is thrust in really highlights the unequality and wickedness of Cutta’s society. Thom goes through defintiely a crisis of morality and self. Although it would break most people, he holds out by remembering the promise he made to both Kitty and Nate; and Thomas Anteros keeps his promises….

Kitty and Nate play a part in this novel, although their actual roles are small. Through Thom’s POV we learn more about Nate and Kitty as they were before the events of the first book. There is a definite view of their character growth and how their relationships are created through learning of their past. Of course, we see the mirroring of Thom’s and Nate’s relationship through A History of Madness and A Promise of Return as these two books and A Touch of Death‘s events intermingle through the differing perspectives. .

Rebecca really compliments the world building she has done through the first two novels with this third. It really builds on the Kingdom and we learn more about what is going on at all levels of the society and in many diverse locations within the Kingdom itself. The pacing was great. There were moments where you we holding your breath and moments where it gave you a chance to breathe. Rebecca’s writing continues to impress with the altering views telling the story and the POVs are all distinctly different, while also flowing together to make an intricate plot with twists and turns throughout. I cannot wait to see what happens in A Dance of Lies.

I would like to thank Rebecca Crunden for sending me a copy for my review.

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About Rebecca Crunden

Rebecca Crunden is an indie author of fantasy, science fiction and romance who lives in Cork, Ireland. To date she has published one series, three standalone novels, a novella and various short stories. Her most recent novel, These Violent Nights (2021) is set in a futuristic world that blends fantasy and sci-fi.

The Outlands Pentalogy

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