Scarlet Quest, part of the World of Odealeous series by A.D. Martinez tells the story of Auron, a mercenary who kills people in order to insure peace and prosperity for his village. The moral quandary that this causes creates inner tension within Auron, as he faces enemies who threaten both him and his village.
“It’s the band of the fox!” Yelled a man from the crowd. People began to touch Auron, trying to reach him on his horse and waved at him. Some people were fond of him, although he did not like the attention. Women would taunt him, “I’ll marry you and give you children.” He was tempted but his wife would kill him. Some people threw roses at him as admiration. Auron and the band of the fox had captured many criminals in and out of the city. He had also saved many people from danger as part of his missions. It was heart warming to know that some bloody missions were for a good cause, but that was not his focus.
This alternate world of Odealeous is set in a medieval like society, but there are other countries with more advanced technology such as Ironside, a city state that is similar to the nineteenth century with magic and unique cultures such as the Amaranth tribe where Auron grew up. The plot line is an exciting adventure in quest for the Crimson Cosmo Jewel, a gem of one of the dragon gods with rumored powers that would allow the reader to dominate the world and perhaps even bring people back from the dead. King Richard certainly hopes that is true as he send Auron to fetch the jewel to revive his deceased son. Scarlet Quest examines the concepts of peace at any cost, and what makes a tyrant choose his actions. Although King Richard is never a sympathetic character, his actions are based in ideas that are understandable from his point of view. It also shows a band of mercenaries with total loyalty to their leader. It is a fast paced adventure that does not get bogged down with detail. Martinez does a good job of explaining how the element based magic works. The characters, except for maybe Auron could have been better developed. At times their actions seem rather random because of this lack of development, although I understand that they were being manipulated. Scarlet Quest focuses primarily on the journey of Auron, as he develops the understanding that the mercenary life will not give him the peace he seeks, and as he understands his greater responsibility to Odealeous. I would recommend this book to readers looking for a high fantasy novel focused on adventure. Future installments continue the story of Auron, his former master Akielas, and their attempts to thwart the evil sorceress Ember.