Kered's Cry, by Kaaren Sutcliffe

A great roar and clamour made his stomach turn over. Gripping his lower lip with his teeth, Kered looked back to the outer wall. He had to lean on the stone ledge to steady himself. The entire road and lands beyond the walls teemed with large barbarians in garish armour. Already, arrows whistled over the wall, randomly striking soldiers or fleeing peasants.

When his castle home is attacked, Kered loses everything – his father, his mother and the throne to which he should have been heir. His own life is spared, but only just. First he is tortured by his captors, the Sarods, then he is cast out into the desert. He is rescued from death by Chelosan, a chameleon with magical powers.

Taken in by a desert tribe far from his home in Tanaria, Kered recovers physically, but his emotional healing is more difficult. He doesn’t know who to trust or what he should do next. Does he have the strength to save his people and his land?

Kered’s Cry is the first title in a new trilogy from talented author Kaaren Sutcliffe, who weaves a complex and absorbing tale, centered on a reluctant and damaged hero. Kered appears to be the central player in the fulfillment of a prophecy guarded by the chameleon, Chelosan, but Kerod’s trauma at the hands of the Sarod’s has left him almost incapable of trust and of the courage he needs to undertake his quest.

As well as Chelosan, Kered is supported by a girl from the desert tribe. Shouffa is given the task of caring for Kered as he recovers and finds herself drawn to him. Both struggle with the complexities of their growing romance.

This is a well-drawn and richly levelled plot, which is equally suited to young adult and to adult readerships. All readers will look forward to the release of the second instalment of Kered’s tale.

Kered’s Cry, by Kaaren Sutcliife
Loranda Publishing, 2004