I have been looking forward to this book ever since the first time I heard mention of this mysterious Mountain Baron with a rocky past.
Here’s the synopsis (it screams: READ ME!)
A lost brother.
An unwilling outlaw.
A rising enemy.
An unusual alliance.
Years ago, Rhys MacDuffy was brutally cut off from his clan, stripped of his name and inheritance, and banished to the remote Dragon Keep. Perched high above the Shang Pass in the land of Alsaya, he assumed the mantle of the Mountain Baron, serving out his sentence as the overseer of the worst outlaws and outcasts.
But one day he receives a desperate message from the clan who disowned him: MacDuffy’s Seer—his beloved brother—has been taken by their enemies.
With his band of Mountain Brigands and an unwelcome sidekick, Rhys leaves his mountain stronghold to find and rescue his brother. The tide of war is rising amongst the Clans of Alsaya, fueled by the magic-wielding sect of Druids who seek to unleash a dark force the world has long forgotten.
Can the bond of blood run deeper than banishment?
I’d share a photo of my paperback copy, but as soon as it arrived I handed it to my daughter to look at, and she’s refusing to give it back . . . .
I was lucky enough to catch the chatter about getting ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) for Oath of the Outcast, and I jumped at the chance. I’ve been looking forward to this book for at least a year, anticipating its summer release. It was totally worth it to get early.
Of course, as soon as the pre-order was available for e-book, I’d ordered that, and then when I saw the print version was available I made sure to get that too. A little excessive? Oh, probably. I’ll be getting another copy to share with friends now too.
My Review (Five Stars, FYI)
- Print Length: 349 pages
- Publisher: Crosshair Press (July 23, 2019)
- Publication Date: July 23, 2019
- ISBN-13: 978-0990555582
This is something new for C. M. Banschbach who has hitherto written for middle to young adult, but as she’s matured as a young woman and writer, her work has also matured, and I am excited to see where her future in writing takes her.
Oath of the Outcast is NA (new adult) fiction, although I would not be worried about older teens reading this at all. There is violence, certainly, but the story centers so firmly around the themes of ties that bind–familial and through blood, sweat and tears, and strength of honor that it more than explains what happens when a damaged but good heart meets on the battlefield against evil.
The story starts with Rhys (Reese) MacDuffy reticent to face the people who’ve rejected him. The people who chose not to believe in his innocence and banished him, stripping him of his honor, his home, his life, his future . . . his name.
Now he’s the Baron. The Mountain Baron. A man with a reputation that precedes him. Whether the world respects or fears him, it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Everything he ever cared about has been taken from him.
Ach! I love the Baron so much, and I think I’d be one of his Cairns if I could. The Cairns are the men (most of ill repute) who he’s collected and offered a second chance, which I think is the thing he longs for but believes he doesn’t deserve. These are the thieves, pirates, murders, mayhem-makers of this Celtic-inspired world who’ve been banished to the mountain.
Some refuse the offer of the Baron, but beware to those who do. The Cairns are men of violence who are tempered, not tamed, by the Baron. But their violence is perfected in their loyalty to Rhys. I’d be loyal too. Wronged or not, he’s just a guy you’d want to follow.
My favorite Cairn is Jes, but each of the men introduced in Oath of the Outcast has a compelling backstory that we’re all hoping (and you will too) C. M. Banschbach will make into some prequel short stories for our great pleasure.
Eek. I’m going to wax poetic about this book for twenty pages if I don’t keep it under control, and I certainly don’t want to give any spoilers, but REALLY. This is a must-read book.
The misunderstandings, the longing for the past, the hope for a future, the characters! It’s allll sooo good.
One of my favorite characters is Alan, and what can I say about him other than that while he calls Rhys a ray of sunshine, it’s really him who is one . . . with a great sense of humor and a wicked sword swing.
I don’t think Rhys realizes–no he doesn’t want to realize–how much he needs Alan back in his life. Good friends, especially the ones who mess up and have learned from their painful mistakes, are hard to come by and deserve a second chance. Even from barons who are too afraid to admit how much they miss and need them.
And while there’s some anger, it’s really the brokenness of Rhys that makes me love him and want to hug him so much. His pain is mirrored in the characters who love him and have lost him because of their own fear and foolishness.
C. M. Banschbach has done such a fantastic job of pulling the heart-strings of truth in this story, and I highly doubt you’ll regret reading it.
And I’ll just remind you that I don’t love every book I read. All opinions about Oath of the Outcast are my own, and I hope you find it helpful!
Again, here’s where to find it:
C.M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent Hobbit if she weren’t so tall. She’s a pizza addict, a multi-faceted fangirl, and a firm believer in being authentic—even if it means acting like a dork sometimes! When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric physical therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually has to grow up.
She also writes YA/MG fantasy-adventure as Claire M. Banschbach.