Crimson Legacy #1

Series: Crimson Legacy
Publication Date: 21 Aug. 2021
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781912775798

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    Blood. That's what Tara sees. Her village destroyed. Her Grada dead. Her friends taken. Now she's chasing shadows--a cryptic message to find someone she's never heard of in a town she's never visited. But strange things is what Tara will find. Things she can't explain. People will fear her. Others will want her caught. Powerful people. Blood. Her blood. That's what they want. And they'll do anything to get it.


    Book Type: Junior High
    Age Group: 14 years +
    Traffic Lights: Green/Amber
    Class Novel: Yes
    Good Reads Rating: 4.5/5
    Literary Rating: 4.5/5


    It's Tara's 18th born day. Her real born day is unknown, so each year they commemorate the day that Grada found her as a baby. It should have been a day of celebration, but when the black metal monsters come to Rivercross, it becomes a day of grief and loss. Tara only survives because Grada knocks her out so he can hide her safely in the cellar. when she comes to she discovers that her best friend Ben and the only two children in the village are missing, and everyone else is dead.

    Before Grada knocked her out, he made her promise to travel to Littlepass to find Lily the healer and tell her "they had come'. En-route she comes to another settlement and meets 12-year-old Finn whose people have also been killed. There's only Finn and his pet "devil cat' (a type of predatory big cat) left. Finn begs to join her--he doesn't want to be alone anymore.

    While camped in the woods, they meet Winston Phillip the Third (aka Tater), a dwarf who is a storyteller and minstrel. Tater tells them of the Prezedant - the evil leader who is responsible for the machines and the Army. He hunts down those who oppose him and publicly executes those who disobey. His lands are cesspools of depravity, and he holds no regard for human life. Tara realises her Grada and the other old people in their settlement must have known of him.

    The three journey together, but are captured by raiders, who initially intend to sell them in Littlepass. But when one of them steals something precious to her, Tara is filled with rage--and strength. She easily overcomes the other girl and none of the men can stop her until one of them hits her hard enough on the head to knock her out. Tara's transformation clearly means something to them, and the plan changes--she is a New Blood, the very kind that the Prezedant has been hunting. They will take her directly to him.

    Tater says New Bloods are a true miracle "of the gods'. Jax (a fellow captive), says she is a freak of nature, a mutation, a danger to everyone around her. Given the wary and almost fearful looks the raiders are now directing at her, he might be right.

    After four days of hard travel, the guards' attention waivers and with the help of a mutant named Po, they escape. A shoot out ensues, and eventually Tara is knocked unconscious. She has a vision of Grada, who shows her the beauty of her home, the way it was meant to be - beautiful, whole, perfect. He tells her she will do great things, as her destiny is wondrous indeed...

    When she wakes, she is in Gray Valley, and Jax's mother is caring for her. The time they spend in the valley is a time of healing, but Jax doesn't want her to stay. After seeing what can happen, he doesn't want her bringing danger to his home and his loved ones. As soon as she is able, they leave.

    Travelling through a huge abandoned Settler's Village from the time before, they soon find themselves trapped by muties. There's not much about them that seems human. They plan to take Finn, if nothing else, but when Tara starts to transform, their attitudes change completely and they beg her forgiveness. To them she is the Mistress of LIght, the one they have been waiting for. A prophecy foretold that one day the New Bloods would return and clean the earth and heal all that has been broken, bringing home from the darkness. Tara has no idea what they are raving on about.

    An old woman called Orakel is in charge of the muties. She too has been awaiting the arrival of a New Blood for a long time. She tells Tara that the people they think of as muties were intentionally infected with the pox by the Prezedant, leaving them deformed and with damaged minds. Prezedant is so obsessed by New Bloods that he has been experimenting on people to try and create more New Bloods himself. That's why he takes the young ones from the sand lands--he's looking for more subjects for his experiments.

    The New Bloods symbolise all that is pure and good. The evil Prezedant fears them as they are capable of bringing back the light to everything he has worked so hard to keep in the darkness. Before they leave, Orakel warns Tara that one of her three companions will betray her ...

    After arriving in Littlepass, Tater organises a place for them to hide out, but before they can take advantage of it, they are captured by the Army. It's obvious Tater knows their leader and he quickly betrays them all.

    Tara (who they drugged so they could control her), Jax and Finn are taken to the iron mines in a cage. One of the mine slaves calls out her name and she is shocked to see her friend Ben, chained to a young girl. She's desperate to get to him, but Jax convinces her they can't do anything just yet. That night, they are rescued by a small group of strangers, who take them to the Sanctuary (a house of healing). There, Tara comes face to face with Lily--the woman Granda had told her to find. Lily knew her mother, Rease, and when Rease was killed, took Tara to Granda, in the hope of keeping her safe from the Prezedant.

    When Tara secretly joins their rescue mission to find Ben, she is horrified to discover the body of the young girl Ben was chained to--and a number of others--hanging from the entrance to the mine. Ben is not there, but he is now in the hands of the Prezedant.

    It's a warning from the Prezedant to Tara. If she wants to save his life, she must give up her own. But to do that, she will have to live up to expectations, face the truth and become what they all believe her to be...

    A well crafted and enjoyable book about a post-apocalyptic land in the late aftermath of World War 3 that is under the control of evil, and the girl who must sacrifice her life if she is to save it. Highly recommended.


    post-apocalyptic, human experimentation, self-sacrifice, blood, healing, hope, friendship, betrayal, prophecy

    Content Notes

    1. Language: bastard x 10, pissed (off) x 1, asshole/ass wipe. They have their own "language', eg. shite / shizen / mule turd. 2. One of the adult men in Rivercross had a whisky still. Tara uses the alcohol to help her burn the bodies of her friends and loved ones killed by the Army (p39). 3. Finn's family have also been killed. Cat ate a man while defending him (no description), p52. 4. There are legends about the Prezedant. Some say he consumes the souls of the young to maintain his immortality (p83). He is also believed to have done things no human should be capable of (p87). 5.Infrequent, mildly graphic fight scenes. 6. Bodies are hung at the entrance of the mine as a message to Tara (non-graphic). 7. The power that surges through the New Bloods is called their "Chi'. 8. When their escape is blocked, Tara shoots many of the raiders (moderately graphic mention of her shooting someone in the forehead p161). They are outnumbered, and Tara calls up a sand storm that takes out their enemies (p171-3). She doesn't remember this event, and when Jax tells her, she grieves for the lives she has taken, and the ones who will grieve for them. Jax's mother eventually tells her that his sister was a New Blood, and that when they came to take her she lost it and there were innocents who died because of it (p176-7). 9. The mutants want Finn as a "playmate' (p216). 10. Tater sometimes lives in a brothel, and arranges to hide them in a room out the back (p265-6). Tara doesn't know what that even means, so Tater (very politely and non graphically) explains. She then sees a man grope a woman he is following up the stairs (not described at all) and realises exactly what is going on. She is very embarassed (p269). 11. The people's religious comments are about "the gods', but their belief structure is never described. 12. A drop of Tara's blood brings a withered plant back to life. Prezedant wants the New Bloods because he takes their blood for himself, making his own life prosperous while the rest of the people live in despair. 13. Reference to Prezedant forcing his captives into an arena to entertain the elite with games (think Romans vs Christians).

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