Shadows of Illyria: Phantoms of War

Shadows of Illyria: Phantoms of War

Beware the Phantoms of War...

Shadows of Illyria is a groundbreaking new series which departs from traditional fantasy fiction with the use of gritty realism in the portrayal of war, mythical creatures, and even magic. Written by a combat veteran of the Iraq War, author JM VanZuiden seamlessly weaves the realities of war into an epic fantasy tapestry. This unique perspective creates a fresh approach to the genre that is both epic in its scope and dark in its nature. Join Captain Aldric Herboren as he struggles to survive through an Orcish invasion whilst battling his inner demons. Are his dreams a grim reminder of a haunting past or something far more sinister? Beware the Phantoms of War.

Order Now!
About the Book

The tale of a warrior is often the ink on the parchment of scribes, the grand tale of storytellers, the riveting song of the bard, and the inspiration of the young man who packs his belongings, hugs his mother, and sets out on his own grand adventure to become a hero. 

As is frequently the nature of men, war often follows on the heels of selfish ambitions. With the lust for power comes war, and the death of many of these young men, leaving behind a trail of tears of those who loved them. 

A quill dipped in blood scribes the great adventures yet again, whilst songs are sung of the grand battles that were fought, and the conqueror celebrates the great victory they have won by the lives of the fallen. 

For the forgotten mothers, the regretful fathers, and the mourning widows, there is no celebration. They suffer in silence, weeping tears for the soldier that will never return. 

When the broken bodies of war return to the dust from whence they came, not even a trace will mark the sacrifice they once made. These soldiers will fade into the shadows of time, soon forsaken. 

For the storied few who are remembered, they will become the fabled warriors. They are the ones who have survived march after march, skirmish after skirmish, and battle after battle. They continue-on, bearing the scars of war, yearning for the innocence they have lost. 

Yet another war comes again. The bards sing new praises, whilst scribes write of the valiant battles, and kings hail the heroes of the victories they have won. Meanwhile, young boys dream they are the fabled warriors of these legends, as their fathers tell of the grand exploits of war. 

The heroes they speak of weave a very different tapestry than in the glorious tales. The threads they sow are of pain and loss, regret and sorrow, fear and anger. The blanket they lay upon, is stitched with the blood of the innocent and the sacrifice of the dead. 

In the quiet corners of pubs and sleepy forgotten villages, the broken men of story tell somber tales. Some languish over the souls they have taken, others dwell on the brothers they have lost. Many of these forsaken men will linger, wandering fields painted in crimson, fighting a never-ending battle in their haunted minds. 

When these legends of men find the hour has drawn near, their mind still lingering in the void of despair, 

they will sometimes… 

just sometimes… 

tell tales of the Phantoms of War. 

Series: Shadows of Illyria, Book 1
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction
Tag: Recommended Books
Publisher: Aarden Press
Publication Year: 2018
ASIN: 1545286361
ISBN: 1545286361
List Price: 14.99
Shadows of Illyria is a dark fantasy novel. It is the first book of its series and is about Captain Herboren. He not only has orcs and scoundrels to fight but also has an inner dark feeling that is taking over his own judgment and behavior. While his elf friend tries to assist him she also appears to underestimate the situation with his powers and that is where the story takes an interesting turn. What does include in this story is the background of each character and tale providing a good foundation for the sequel books that are to come after this book. The ‘Phantoms of war’ is reference to the war within the Captain and the struggle he faces in the changes that he experiences. You were constantly wondering how he is going to fix the situation or how is this going to affect the ending. The literature was standard and possessed the descriptive nature in order to make it a fantasy world. I prefer a faster pace the one existing was not so bad.
Shadows of Illyria: Phantoms of War by JM VanZuiden begins with an emotional and insightful prologue on wars and their repercussions. I was a little surprised to discover that the book is written in second person narrative. For me, it didn’t make the story flow well, but I got used to it. The writing style otherwise was very good. We are introduced to Sergeant Aldric who notices some orcs and keeps on having some heartbreaking flashbacks. He finds an injured girl A’yala, who is an elf. As Aldric helps her to heal, she becomes his companion. As the book progresses, we learn about this fantastical world and history. The book is full of invasions and battles. With mythical creatures and magic, this book is a complete package. I liked that the author tried to show realities of war through a fantasy work. Aldric and A’yala’s romance was incredibly sweet. Not a lot of books nowadays show a slow-burn romance. This book is a very adventurous and exciting high fantasy novel. My interest waned at times but overall, it is a great start to a series. Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram You can contact me at
Order Now
Buy from Amazon
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."