The Quickening 01: Myrren’s Gift by Fiona McIntosh

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Ever since he was young, Wil Thirsk has known his destiny; he will take up his father’s mantle as the Commander of the Morgravian army. Raised beside the young prince who will one day be his king, Wil has reservations about the future of his kingdom, but there is one experience that he will never forget, one that will change his life forever; the burning of the witch, Myrren. Sympathetic to her plight, Wil leaves a lasting impression on the girl who grants him a gift in her dying moments.

It’s not until years later that Wil learns exactly what Myrren’s gift entails. His prince has sent him on a diplomatic journey to nearby Briavel, alongside one of the kingdom’s most notorious mercenaries, with a marriage proposition. Celimus, crown prince of Morgravia, has his eye on the heir of Briavel, the beautiful, vivacious Valentyna, wanting to unite their kingdoms and consolidate power. There’s only one issue; Wil knows Celimus’ true nature and is desperate to convince Valentyna that the match is not a good idea. During their heated discussions, an attack is launched on Briavel’s royalty and Wil and friends offer their swords in protection... only for Wil to find out that one of his apparent friends is the most deadly of foes, paid by Celimus himself to ensure Wil doesn’t survive his mission. What he believes to be his last moments transform into the most extraordinary of experiences and Myrren’s gift allows Wil to live again… inside the body and mind of his murderer.

Myrren’s Gift is a rare combination of classic fantasy elements weaved together tightly with strands of unique plot lines that makes this a riveting read. Accompanying Wil as he navigates issues that are completely beyond him, fumbling around and making a right mess of things in some places, makes for a comical exploration of life after death in a heart-pounding race against time to save the kingdom and get the girl.