SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE begins shortly after the events of THE WAY OF THE SHIELD, where Taurian Candidates Dayne Heldrin and Jerinne Fendall helped capture the culprits behind a deadly attack. Both are devoted to the Taurian Order and want to reach the level of Adept. Unfortunately, being willing to take up the sword and shield to protect the people, the Parliament, and the nation isn’t enough- and may very well spell their personal downfalls. Dayne now finds himself as a liaison housed outside of the Order household, while Jerinne remains at the bottom of her class despite her best efforts. Meanwhile, a celebration is occurring in Maradaine and voting is underway. What conspiracies lurk beneath the surface as Dayne and Jerinne once again find their very lives at risk?
Dayne is the obvious hero, with his strength and size. However, I can’t help but love Jerinne even more so for her grit and determination, particularly when her Candidate rankings keep her dead last. Jerinne doesn’t give up when the odds are clearly against her and I love watching her learn to respect her own skills no matter how she is ranked.
The conspiracies in Maradaine take a very dark and devious turn in SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE. Marshall Ryan Maresca cleverly builds the suspense while dropping hints along the way as to the vastness of the conspiracy. We gain a lot of insight into the political machinations ruling Maradaine and none of it is encouraging or for the people. It will be interesting to see how Dayne and Jerinne react when the identity of the conspirators is revealed.
SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE is the second book in the Maradaine Elite series and loosely connected to the other three series featuring the world of Maradaine. I love the complexity of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s worldbuilding as the vast conspiracy underlying all the inner workings of Maradaine is emerging through the intertwining pieces coming together. It’s nothing short of brilliant! If you love the fantasy genre then Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Maradaine books and SHIELD OF THE PEOPLE should be on your list to read!
The second novel in the Maradaine Elite series blends fast-paced high fantasy and political intrigue.
After stopping Tharek Pell and saving the Druth Parliament, Dayne Heldrin and Jerinne Fendall find themselves on the margins of the Tarian Order: lauded as heroes in public but scorned and ignored in private, their future in the Order hazy. Dayne is given an assignment that isolates him from the Order, and Jerinne is hazed and bullied at the bottom of the initiate rankings.
But it's a grand holiday week in the city of Maradaine, celebrating over two centuries of freedom and the foundation of the reunified modern nation, and with that come parades, revelry... and protests and demonstrations. A dissident group called The Open Hand--and their mysterious, charismatic leader, Bishop Ret Issendel--seeks to disrupt the Parliament elections with their message of secession and dissolution.
Despite orders to stay out of the public eye, Dayne and Jerinne are drawn into the intrigue of the Open Hand and kept apart by dark powerful conspiracies that brew around them. Dayne and Jerinne must fight for their own principles, and protect the will of the people as the election is thrown into chaos.