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The Orb was created to reshape the world. The gods never intended for it to fall into mortal hands. Now it has.

A half-century ago, the gods were annihilated in a cataclysmic event known as the Sundering. In their absence, the dragon lords have struggled to maintain an uneasy peace amongst Laveria’s rival kingdoms. But now the armies of the Necromancer are on the march. After the Carrion Horde sacks the city of Manherm and kills the king, the Necromancer demands a high price for peace – the Orb.

With the world falling into chaos, an unlikely alliance is formed. Thatcher, a shape-shifting dragon lord, finds himself as the leader of the resistance and races across Laveria to rally the rival kingdoms against their common foe. A young witch named Evelyn Manherm undertakes a secret mission to locate the missing Orb in the palace of her sworn enemy. And Bently Troushire – the bastard son of the king – volunteers to venture on a quest that most believe means certain death. His task – awaken the god Yansarian, the only Guardian to survive the Sundering. But in a world full of double-crossing lords nothing goes as planned. As the final battle with the Necromancer draws near, an old truth becomes apparent – sleeping gods should be left to slumber.

Epic Fantasy Books in the Series

The Order - A stand-alone prequel

A Wizard's Dark Dominion
The Guardian
The Guardian Stone

298 pages, ebook

First published February 13, 2016

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About the author

Lee H. Haywood

10 books141 followers
I am the author of The Gods and Kings Chronicles and Fractured Throne. I currently live in Arizona with my family. When I am not writing (which seems to take up more of my time these days) I enjoy playing soccer, tinkering with Photoshop, and exploring the world.

If you interested in following my exploits, please visit my website, follow me on facebook, or check me out on twitter . If you would like to receive promotional offers for my future publications, please sign up for my newsletter.

Thank you for your support!

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Community Reviews

5 stars
57 (42%)
4 stars
35 (26%)
3 stars
29 (21%)
2 stars
7 (5%)
1 star
5 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews
Profile Image for Michael Britt.
171 reviews1,992 followers
June 15, 2017
Real rating: 3.5

I know what you're thinking, "only 3.5 stars? That can't be good." But this is a very good 3.5 stars. I know we tend to think 3 stars is a bad thing, but it isn't. Not always, in any case. Especially not in this one. I really enjoyed Haywood's debut novel. He had some really awesome action scenes and I really liked how he writes dialogue. The first 10% was so much fun, but the next 40% kind of fell flat for me, then the last half he really came into his own.

For a self-published and debut novel, it's pretty impressive! I don't have much experience with self-published books, but the few that I've read I wasn't a fan of and usually DNF. This one kept me hooked just enough, mainly thanks to the first 10%, to power through the bit I didn't like and was nicely rewarded with a superb last half.

On to the things I didn't like, then I'll get to the non-spoilery things I loved. This is actually a pretty short list and is more so just personal preference than critiques. I wasn't a fan of the political parts of the book. I tend to lose interest and zone out during the politicking sections of books. This one had a fair amount in it and it seemed to go over my head more than usual. The only other thing I didn't like was that writing in the first half seemed a bit disjointed at times. That also had a bit to do with my tendency to take a bit longer than most to get acquainted with names of characters. Again, that's partly to do with me and not all his fault.

Now, onto the things I loved. This isn't as constructive so I saved it for last. I loved so many of the characters in this book. He included dragoons and that was one of my favorite parts. We also had the usual: dragons, elves, etc. But we also got undead dragons and a zombie army. I really love Necromancers so that was an awesome touch. I also really liked his magic system. I can't say why, spoilers, but I really liked what he did with it.

This is an entertaining book, at the very least. I would definitely recommend it! My only tip would be to not go in with high expectations, just entertainment. If you do that, you'll be quite pleased to see that this will go above those expectations.
Profile Image for Andy.
38 reviews
January 9, 2016
5 Stars - WOW! I just can't believe this is a new author. From start to finish, every aspect of his writing is extremely impressive...superb! I must confess, I am new to the fantasy genre (more of a Baldacci guy myself), but I have been captured! His highly-skilled use of language, and amazing facility in choosing descriptive phrasing, bring the story alive and paint a vivid picture of this complex fantasy world. I want more!
Profile Image for Kelly.
2 reviews
February 16, 2016
The Guardian is a great first book in an exciting new series. The story is full of action, compelling characters, and swift pacing. I was completely drawn into the author's fully realized world and am eagerly awaiting the next book! Highly recommended for lovers of high fantasy (and good books in general!).
1 review1 follower
January 11, 2016
I enjoyed this book immensely and would highly recommend it. I eagerly await book II! The author captured my attention to his clearly developed world with his excellent use of imagery; and use of medieval terms and descriptors. I am not a fan of overblown, monotonous, descriptive details of either the scenery or the characters (e.g.: he was tall, with curly flaxen hair that flowed to the shoulder.... Blah, blah, blah), and this author did not do either. His excellent use of imagery created visual images that perfectly fit the world he constructed and quickly depicted the characters, both good and evil. Great book Lee Haywood! I look forward to more!
Profile Image for Nadim Shehab.
28 reviews
January 24, 2016
This is a great first book for Lee H Haywood. I found it a lot easier to read than most fantasy novels. I love how quickly Haywood throws you into the world. There is no hand holding, yet it never feels like hand holding is necessary.

While this book is clearly the first of a series (the overarching story is not resolved), the ending provides plenty of twists and turns to leave me very satisfied and excited to find out what happens next.

I highly recommend this book and will definitely read future installments in the series.
20 reviews
January 21, 2016
I am an avid reader and I especially like to read first books by new authors. Lee Haywood's "The Guardian" is filled with captivating characters and an intriguing fast paced story line. His writing is some of the best I have come across in a very long time and although fantasy is not normally my genre, I was completely absorbed from beginning to end. I will definitely be looking for more from this author.
Profile Image for Annie Downey.
11 reviews4 followers
February 1, 2016
This is a fantastic book! Lee Haywood has created an exciting and richly developed fantasy world that comes to life. I didn’t want to put this book down, and when I did, I would think of it and start worrying about the characters and what would happen to them. This is a magnificent debut novel and worth your time. I look forward to the next installment!
February 15, 2016
The Guardian is definitely one of my new favorites, the characters are interesting, and the story is well paced. I liked the dark atmosphere of the book, and it leaves you wanting to find out what happens next. I really enjoyed the book, and I highly recommend it to any fan of fantasy, or necromancers.
3 reviews1 follower
January 15, 2016
Loved it!!! Loved it!!! Great storyline-I couldn’t put it down. This author knows how to string words together to transport you to another land. Characters, good and evil, came to life and left me anticipating the next twist in the plot. Thank goodness his next book is ready for me to read.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
68 reviews
March 13, 2016
Amazing story with illuminating descriptions and details. The story moved nicely and kept me thinking through the whole story. I am not one to read fantasy but because of this book it makes me question, why haven't I been reading fantasy?! I can't wait to read the next one!
1 review
January 25, 2016
Good book, enjoyed reading it-waiting for the release of future books.
1 review
January 29, 2016
Great storytelling in an interesting world. Takes a minute to sort out all the different races and deities, but once you get going it's a page-turner. Eagerly awaiting the next book.
39 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2017
I won this book in a giveaway from the author.

I liked this book…a lot. This book has a lot going for it. You’ve got the usual fantasy characters and races. There are men, elves and dwarves engaged in an epic battle against a powerful evil. We have a small band of heroes and of course the odd are stacked against them. The good guys are easy to like and the bad guys are equally easy to dislike. What makes this book different is what else the author has added.

The author takes the tried and true “epic fantasy” recipe and adds in Dragons, races of “dark children”, and god-like Guardians; he then mixes them into a wonderful story. Oh, did I forget to mention the un-dead? That’s right there is a zombie horde in this book as well!!! Come on, awesome, right?

As far as the story, I thought it was well put together without too many characters or points of view. I thought the plot moved at a good pace without lagging. The author gave us just the right amount of world building so that we would have a decent background to use as a reference.

Overall, really liked the story and how all the elements fit together. This was a fun book to read and I look forward to getting my hands on the second book. Do yourself a favor and read this book.
20 reviews
November 19, 2016
I received this book via a goodreads giveaway.
It took me a solid 150 pages to get into the story and the first couple of chapters were downright painful to read but after I got into it (and the early onslaught of adverbs subsided) I got pretty absorbed in the second half. It's the first book of a series so the story obviously isn't over at the end of the book but I felt like there were a couple of arcs that were minimal enough in this first part that they could have been left out and introduced as they became more central to the story.
390 reviews8 followers
June 30, 2018
Intriguing Story

I enjoyed the basic plot, but some of the imaginative words and intermingling of species and realms was overdone and distracting. The actions and internal thoughts of some of the characters slowed down the story and added little to the story.
100 reviews
July 16, 2018
Well, I found out about Demetry. Good story that continues the search for the Orb as a group of adventurers seeks to awaken a God who (seemingly) possesses the only chance to defeat Demetry and his undead hordes.
81 reviews
June 17, 2017
Good book

Ok a book. I enjoyed it although it skipped around a lot and confused me. Overall it was a good read
Profile Image for Philipp.
7 reviews
July 24, 2016
To be honest, I thought this would be a badly written fantasy novel and the good ratings were just friends of the author.
But I was fortunately wrong.
I bought it for 0.99 euro on amazon and gave it a try. I expected nothing and got a really good book.
There were some weak points, but I didn't mind them that much.

So because of the shortness of the novel, I wasn't bored once.
A lot of stuff happens and as a reader, you are thrown into a fantasy world (which looks a lot like middle-earth ;))with a huge backstory.
At some points, I was overwhelmed but as soon as I exepted that, my reading experience was much more pleasent.
The best part of this book is in my opinion the story.
I was afraid that this would be to unrealstic and that the magic would be just random overpowered bullshit. But the story was very interessting and the magic was fine.
The weakest part are the characters (who are still good).
There are a lot of POVs and secondary characters but most of them (especially the POV) have no character development. At some points this book felt like a RPG. You get a little backstory and some character traits but It felt like I expanded these characters in my mind more than the book did.

Anyway, that's my opinion. I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyboby who would like to read a good, non-character driven high fantasy novel.
I am sorry if this review isn't on a high level, it's the first I have ever written and English is not my mother tongue.
Profile Image for Eric Dicarlo.
82 reviews2 followers
February 16, 2016
I'll be perfectly honest; this is (from what I can tell) a first book and it starts off by making sure you're very aware of it. You're sort of thrown into a plot and it's confusing for a while because you keep meeting new people and learning new things about the world. There were also a few times where the characters knew what was going on and reacted accordingly ... but I didn't know about the thing (because I don't live in that world) they were reacting to so I sort of just had to go with it and hope they were right. The book by no means starts off "bad," but I definitely found myself wishing things were explained better.

I also gave this book four out of five stars for a reason. That reason is that I need a sequel. I'm serious, if you can push through the first half of the book, you'll reach this point where Haywood's writing ability skyrockets. Scenes and their "extras" become well defined and distinct, the characters become genuinely charming, and the plot starts to blend with the world in a way that makes all the earlier confusion feel worthwhile!

Of course, I would have loved to have seen this book be written at this quality, but to me, that's what the sequel can be. If Lee H. Haywood can accomplish what he has in book 2, I will officially be sold on this author.
Profile Image for Patrick Murphy.
1 review3 followers
February 13, 2016
Haywood really hits the ground running with his debut novel, The Guardian. From the opening pages the reader is immediately transported to the World of Laveria: a world at war between good and evil. In the midst of this epic war, you will find yourself on the edge of your seat as you follow an imaginative cast of characters ranging from shapeshifting dragons to a chilling army of the undead. As this novel is the first in the series it will leave you wanting more, but at the same time its ending will provide more than enough closure to leave you satisfied. Be sure to check out The Guardian; whether you are a fan of fantasy or just a fan of good storytelling, you won't be able to put it down.
Profile Image for Courtney.
54 reviews
May 19, 2016
I won this book in a good reads giveaway.
This book started off slow, and I was not sure about it. But, the characters and world clicked about halfway through, and the book got good. Things got exciting, and I did not want it to end! The characters were interesting and I became sympathitic to them as the story evolved. The writing was pretty good, but the author has some room to grow. I think his writing can be great, and I am really looking forward to the next books in this series! I recommend this to any sword and sorcery fan who has the patience to stay with an evolving story; it was a fun read.
Profile Image for Kendra.
1,528 reviews
June 6, 2016
I received this book for free via Goodreads Giveaway. Review posted on Amazon as well.

Yay! Another author to enjoy! The start was a touch confusing since the author dropped one right into the story and it was busy right from the start. However, it was a very enjoyable read throughout, and I loved all of the twists and turns. The author built an amazing and diverse world, with fascinating characters and it will be interesting to see where he takes the story.
Profile Image for maren.
15 reviews1 follower
January 31, 2016
This is a great first book by Lee Haywood. Laveria is a fascinating world with a rich and complex history. The story is fast paced, and kept me wanting to know what would happen next. I enjoyed sorting out the various religious, magic and geographic influences. I'm looking forward to the next Gods and Kings book.
1 review3 followers
February 14, 2016
Great first novel! As you journey with the characters you easily find yourself wanting to dig more into the magic, the politics, and the history of Laveria. I especially enjoyed the page turning battle depictions -- somehow Haywood makes you feel like you're standing on the front line while also seeing the whole map unfold. Can't wait for the next books!
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews

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