Author: M.L. Farb
Narrator: Neal Arango
Length: 8 hours and 59 minutes
Series: The King Trials, Book 1
Publisher: Maria Farb
Released: May 12, 2020
Genre: YA; Fantasy
In a land where stories of the Shadow Demon keep children shivering in bed and tales of the Yorel bring hope to the commoner, Yosyph is both the reason for their fear and their hope.
By day, Yosyph appears nothing more than a mute tavern-hand. By night, he plans a revolution and slips through shadow, rescuing those marked for death by the xenophobic queen.
When he learns that thousands of his people will be sent as slaves to the mines, he must choose — fight the royal army with an ill-prepared rebellion or journey to the land of his ancestors through the deadly King’s Trial. If he succeeds, he’ll win his kin’s loyalty and their help.
His journey grows complicated when he rescues a maiden and enrages a prince, but if he doesn’t return with help in time, the people he’s loved and secretly served will be gone.
Whitney Awards Nominee 2019
Ever since M. L. Farb climbed to the rafters of a barn at age four, she’s lived high adventure: scuba diving, rock climbing, and even riding a retired racehorse at full gallop–bareback. She loves the thrill and joy.
She creates adventures, fantasy, and fairy tale retellings.
“The writing style is smart and engaging. Brave young men, vivacious heroine. Vibrant world, exciting stakes… I’d recommend to fans of Blades of Acktar, The Queen’s Thief, and The Minstrel’s Song!” – H.S.J. Williams, author of Fairest Son
“Her voice and storytelling were addicting.” – L.P. Masters
A Whitney Awards Nominee 2019
Neal has always had a great passion for performing and making people smile from a young age. His first role was Sneezy in a performance of Snow White in the 3rd grade. Ever since then, he pursued acting whole heartedly, getting roles in highschool plays and majoring in theater in college, as well as doing community theater.
Reading books has always been another great passion, especially of the sci-fi and fantasy genre and after learning about audiobooks and learning he could do both of those, it has been like a dream come true to be able to truly do what he loves.
Yosyph appears to be a mute tavern-hand by day, but by night he is the leader of a growing rebellion against the abuses of the crown. He is tall and lean, with swarthy skin and black hair. Whip marks scar his back. His green eyes stand out from his otherwise dark features. He prefers to speak with hand signs, but will use words when necessary. He’s a brilliant strategist, but also a loner. Most only know him by the title Yorel. And even those closest to him don’t really know him.
If I were to cast him for a movie: A young version of Col. Brandon from Sense and Sensibility (Alan Rickman). Not because they look anything alike, but because the character has dry humor, is reserved and shy around people, confident in what is right, has a troubled past, and puts others’ needs above his own.
Prince Halavant is a “spoiled godling”. He is shorter and more muscular than Yosyph, with tanned skin and a face rounded by opulent living. He bleaches his blond hair and wears it in ringlets. Despite his dandy looks, he is adept at sword fighting and insults. His two main focuses in life are duels and his betrothed, Katrin.
If I were to cast him for a movie: Young King Arthur from the TV series Merlin (I haven’t watched this series but several readers mentioned that Halavant reminded them of this Arthur). Another option could be Westley (Cary Elwes) from Princess Bride. And a bit of the temper of Capt. Boone (Cary Elwes) in the Jungle Book. Confident, cocky, and full of pomp.
Though short, with pale freckled skin and red hair reaching almost to her knees, Katrin isn’t small in personality. She goes through life with a fiery energy matching her hair. Her wit can lift or wound others. Don’t get in the way of her throwing knives.
If I were to cast her for a movie: Eowyn from Lord of the Rings. Again not because of looks. She is courageous, opinionated, and impulsive. Doesn’t wait on someone else to tell her what to do.
An itinerant laborer, Galliard laughs his way through troubles and annoyances. He is sun-baked and topped with an untamed mop of sandy hair. His right hand is missing the pointer finger at the first knuckle.
If I were to cast him for a movie: Miles Hendon (Errol Flynn) from the 1937 Prince and the Pauper. He’s an amused, kind, if disbelieving, protector. One reader compared him to Gandolf—wise and much more than he seems.
Farid: Bonus character glimpse
One reader compared him to a “dark Yoda” or a “dark Mr. Miyagi”. He’s wise but seems unpredictable.
10 fun, random facts about M. L. Farb
- As a child, I couldn’t walk across a room. I danced, spun, skipped, ran, or otherwise moved, but I couldn’t just walk.
- I love climbing, rappelling, and horseback riding. But I hate roller coasters and bungee jumping.
- I lived in St Petersburg, Russia for half-a-year teaching English to kindergartners. I learned to wash my clothes in a bathtub, filter and boil my drinking water, and love my sweet, crayon-eating, kids.
- I have slight dyslexia. ‘b’ and ‘p’ sometimes flip flop on me. But it also means I can read a book upside-down.
- I love reading to my children. We’ve enjoyed books from Dr. Seuss to Les Misérables. Maniac Magee is one of our favorites.
- I’ve journaled almost every day since I turned seventeen. I capture conversations, descriptions, happenings, and quotes. I explore ideas. Through the years I’ve written well over a million words. It prepared me to become an author.
- Plumbing Repair is my nemesis. I’m grateful I don’t have to battle it very often. In the end, I always win, but I feel like I’ve fought an archvillain who pulled every dirty trick in the book, including Chinese water torture in claustrophobic conditions.
- I live with a vivid imagination. I dream in 3-D, technicolor, and occasionally with my eyes open. This is a bane when it comes to nightmares. I will not watch horror movies.
- The King’s Trial started as a bedtime tale I told my little sisters over twenty years ago.
- I have an accent. People often ask me where I’m from. Maybe it’s my reader’s accent. I’ve read out loud enough different books in character, that perhaps it stuck.
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