Friday, November 25, 2016

#FridayReads The ComPanion by S.K. Randolph

My introduction to “otherworldly” entertainment came in the form of a western science fiction serial in the mid-1940s. The Phantom Empire, filmed in the 30s and starring Gene Autry, played Saturday afternoons at our local theater. Then Star Trek premiered in the fall of 1966. During the 20-year lapse between Autry and Captain Kirk and for decades thereafter, however, I never stepped over the line into the exciting world of fantasy.

That changed a few years ago when I began reading S.K. Randolph’s novel, The DiMensioner’s Revenge. This first book of The Unfolding Trilogy gripped my attention by the end of the prologue and held it all the way to the last page. Volumes 2 and 3—The ConDra’s Fire and The MasTer’s Reach—continued the adventure, and tension mounted as good and evil battled across the galaxy. The ending of the third volume—stunning as it was—left me hoping that, somehow and in some form, the series would continue. Then I received an advance copy of The ComPanion. My hope had not been in vain.

The Unfolding Trilogy details the battle to save Myrrh, the last remnant of old Earth, and protect the balance of power in the Inner Universe. No longer concealed from interplanetary forces that seek its demise and their rise to galactic rule, Myrrh’s continued existence—as well as that of Thera—lies in the outcome of that life-and-death struggle. A compilation of 10 novelettes (12,000 – 17,000 words each) and 1 novella (an epilogue of 24,684 words), The ComPanion allows readers a revealing peek into the pasts of the trilogy’s primary players and shares details of events that brought them face-to-face with The Unfolding. In addition, it includes an appendix that expounds on the planets, solar system, and family trees, as well as a glossary that defines numerous words specific to the incredible world created by S.K. Randolph.

Let me share three examples from The ComPanion's shorts.



  The door opened with a whisper. The Galactic Guardian responsible for overseeing her training walked into the room. “Hello, Almiralyn.”
  “Good turning, Chealim.”
  His expression grew somber. “I have some disturbing news.”
  Her brows arched. “News?”
  “The Mocendi League has begun a search for you. You hold the keys to The Unfolding, to the maturing of the entire Inner Universe. You must remain attentive at all times.”
  A kiss brushed her forehead. Light flared. The Galactic Guardian vanished.


  “What the . . .” Wolloh stared at his surroundings—dirt and cobwebs, musty old hay, the tumble of boards that made up the remains of an ancient shed had replaced the cottage... the cottage he had fallen asleep in.
  Rain dripped from overhead. Wind found its way through every crack and cranny. “Velar?”
  The lack of answer sent a shiver up his spine. Was last night a dream? He glanced at his pack . . . A small book with a tattered, scarlet cover rested next to it. The title, The Art of DiMensionery and The Order of Esprow, was etched in gold. Wolloh glanced around the interior of the shack. Last night . . . Velar was here. He looked back at the book. He left this for me.


  Clawed talons clicked a rhythmic cadence on the ice-black floor, then ceased. Abarax studied him, its cherubic features inscrutable. Seeming satisfied with what it saw, it passed him a document with The MasTer’s seal imprinted on the folded edge.
  Relevart flipped the document over and read the words scripted there. For Rethdun’s Eyes Only. He glanced at the Astican. “Thank you, Abarax.”
  It bowed and left.
  He pressed his thumb to the seal and whispered, “Dubinn Stersec.”
  The document fell open . . . A careful study of the contents left his brow furrowed and his thoughts in a whirlwind. Laying the document on the table, he steepled his fingers and tapped his chin. “My, my, dear Rayn, what a conundrum you have created.”

In the beginning, I imagined the trilogy would reach out mostly to young adult fantasy fans. To the contrary, it is proving ageless in its appeal. Whether readers are 9, 90, or anywhere in between, it pulls them into its stories. Then I received The ComPanion and pored over its revelations. Curiosities that had arisen while reading the three novels were satisfied. Unique words coined to fit the story took on new power as I learned their full meanings and derivations. Characters, already robust and well-rounded in the trilogy, stepped off the pages to share the triumphs and tragedies that made them who they were. Ideally, readers should use The ComPanion as a tool, an accompaniment to each volume of the trilogy, a reference for both main characters and the original vocabulary describing inhabitants and locales of the Inner Universe.

I highly recommend The ComPanion, as well as the trilogy, to all who love great stories with strong, diverse characters and compelling plots. You will not be disappointed. All the books, including The ComPanion, are available on Amazon.

~ Edited and Reviewed by Linda Lane. This series of books introduced me to the fascinating world of fantasy, a place I had never before visited. I was enthralled.

Author S.K. Randolph grew up in Bermuda, where from an early age she channeled her creative talents into ballet. Her career in dance spanned forty years and took her from performing to teaching, choreographing, and directing, including as Director of Dance at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

She now lives with her partner on a boat home ported in Sitka, Alaska, and spends her time writing and creating digital art. Together, they explore the waters of southeast Alaska and in the words of Thoreau, strive “to live deliberately.”

For information regarding The UnFolding Series, visit SKRandolph.com and S.K. Randolph on FaceBook

6 comments :

  1. Your enthusiasm for S. K. Randolph is catching, but shouldn't you say, in the interest of full disclosure, that you are her editor?

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    1. Thank you for reminding me that I should have mentioned that. However, my enthusiasm for this book stems from my enjoyment of it as a reader. S.K. Randolph introduced me to the fascinating world of fantasy, and I have been enthralled by her imaginative stories and recommend them to anyone who enjoys a complex tale full of intriguing, three-dimensional characters and twisting plots that keep the reader glued to its pages.

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  2. It's very exciting to be involved in the development of someone else's epic series. My own experiences of editing something similar have given me good insights into my own writing craft. Your enthusiasm for this project shines through, Linda.

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  3. This whole series has been such an eye-opener for me as a reader. It broadened my horizons and introduced me to adventures and ideas I had never explored. For this I am truly grateful to the author.

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  4. What a terrific introduction to a series. It is always so satisfying to learn about totally different people and cultures.

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  5. Because I didn't grow up (or old) reading fantasy, I was especially taken by the realism in these books. I can "walk" into a scene and feel like I belong there with the characters, and yet they are so different from me and my world. The author's attention to detail and to creating that all-important link between reader and story make this a particularly inviting series.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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