Crowns of Silver & Ash: Book 1: The Seven Stars – a Review

Crowns of Silver & Ash: Book I: The Seven Stars is a fantasy lover’s dream book. Fantastic characters—some of them completely human, some not so human, and some magical—pull you into the story and make it hard to pull away from. Starting with the first sentence, the words flowed smoothly together as though they had been predestined to fall in that order. I could hear my inner narrator reading parts of this story to me and saw the story taking place in my mind.

Treachery, betrayal, and violence fill these pages as does friendship, love, and loyalty Singers of songs, balladeers, are sought out for entertainment. Face it, there weren’t any television or radio stations to listen to so one could catch up on what was happening in the world or be entertained. The balladeers would write about things that had happened and set these words to music to share with others.

A city is destroyed, but there is still hope for it to be saved. Destruction must come before salvation. When Denholm is attacked and a majority of its people slaughtered, a hero is needed. The king survived and finds not one, but two heroes.

Bildgermuck Ethalbard is called a dhogler and/or a barker. These are insulting terms, but it is something he is used to. Most of those who are human loathe his presence, yet he is so gentle that he befriends mice. He takes food to one that he has named Her Royal Highness Eadwina, Empress of Mice. And one day, she even brings food to him.

If Bildgermuck isn’t a human, what is he? From various descriptions of him throughout the book, I get the idea that he resembles a dog, but he can walk on two legs. He and other dhaglers—Bumblebog, Walborgus, Hageberd—are able to sit comfortably in children’s chairs.

Bildgermuck and Walborgus set out on a journey and an adventure to save what’s left of the Seven Cities and to bring their king life-saving herbs.

journey, flickr

When Bildgermuck, my favorite character, begins his journey for his King, again his gentleness is shown as he saves and cares for a finch that has an injured wing. He takes this bird with him on his travels and keeps her in his pocket.

In this fantasy lover’s dream book, you will meet the river-children These innocent-looking children have the ability transform into brookhorses, monstrous stallions, at the first sight of prey. Who was their prey? Well, once you read what they are capable of, I don’t think you would want to try and sneak up on them.

You will also meet a huge cloud of magpies. What is so scary about magpies? After all, they are just birds. There is something different about these birds though. They are all working together as one to form a dangerous beast.

Even music has magical effects in this world. Besides bringing joy to most who hear it, it also has the ability to make things move, such as a wall of hedge that moves and opens to music.

Not everyone loves the sounds of music, and not everyone wants peace. Some are hungry for power and only want destruction. Will the Seven Cities be saved? The fate of the Seven Cities will be discovered in Crowns of Silver & Ash: Book II: The Seven Plagues, a book I’m really looking forward to reading.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you would like to indulge your appetite for fantasy books, I’ve provided an Amazon link below.

Amazon Link: Crowns of Silver & Ash: Book I: The Seven Stars

Recommended Articles:
Joshua Hampton Interview – Outlines, Medieval Dialogue, and Music
Unfamiliar Meanings and Mispronunciations of Words

fantasy, imagination, pixabay

Favorite Sentences:
He slinked into the gloom, the dark of his patchy pelt like a marauder’s cloak.

The platinum guard bore the face of a bearded warrior, the blade vomiting from his mouth in a silvery rush of steel that could pierce even King’s mail without effort.

The heavy roar of a thousand steeds at full gallop was like a coming storm that shook the leaves from the trees and sent any near beast to flight.

These were the hata, their smooth, gray trunks entangled like fighting serpents erupting from the ground.

At the Frayne’s command, the brookhorse jumped from the ground and made its path straight up the side of the stonework like a weevil on a wall.

arras, dragon fighting with a panther, wikimedia commons

New Words Learned:
alarum – alarm (archaic)

apse – a domed or vaulted semicircular or polygonal recess, esp at the east end of a church

arras – a wall hanging, as a tapestry or similar object

balladeer – a person who sings ballads

barbican – an outwork of a fortified place, as a castle

beleaguer – to trouble persistently; harass

bole – a reddish soft variety of clay used as a pigment

chapiter – the capital of a column

craven – cowardly

destrier – warhorse

gorse hedge, east end of Millbank, geograph

gorse – hedge

hauberk – a long defensive shirt, usually of mail, extending to the knees

housecarl – a member of the household troops or bodyguard of a Danish or early English king or noble

lay – a song

orison – a prayer

ort – a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal

panoply – a complete suit of armor

patent – readily open to notice or observation; evident; obvious

pauldron – a piece of plate armor for the shoulder and the uppermost part of the arm, often overlapping the adjacent parts of the chest and back

pelf – money or wealth

Stygian gloom in Whitehurst tunnel, geograph

samite – a heavy silk fabric, sometimes interwoven with gold, worn in the Middle Ages

sellsword – a mercenary who hires out his services to the highest bidder

twibill – a double-bladed battle-ax (archaic)

skean – a knife or dagger formerly used in Ireland and in the Scottish Highlands

stygian – dark, gloomy, or hellish

verjuice – the acid juice of unripe grapes, apples, or crab apples, formerly much used in making sauces, etc

weald – wooded or uncultivated country

whilom – former

About the Author:
By day, Joshua Hampton is a mild-mannered associate creative director for an advertising agency. By night, he’s a fantasy writer who finds his muse in everything from Anglo-Saxon epic poetry to French New Wave cinema. His fantasy work has been featured in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Mirror Dance, and Aphelion, among others. He is also writer and editor for the English football club Chelsea FC’s stateside newsletter. For more about his work, visit

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