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Kingdom in Chains

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The common people have become the currency, outlaws have shifted to mercenaries, and freedom is no more than a thought of the past.

Fear, violence, slavery--throughout his adult life, Barloc has known no other way.

A quarter of a century has passed since King Sclavus decreed slavery legal in the Kingdom of Kuldaire, certain it was the only way to keep the economy strong. He created alliances with the wealthy ruling class, and cast the common folk into chains. A handful of rebellions rose, but fell almost as quickly as they began, and the concepts of freedom and peace became dusty relics of the past, a nearly forgotten dream.

When Barloc is sold to Lord Harbor, his new owner offers queer promises of freedom, promises only King Sclavus can honor after a thirty-day trial. Barloc, as someone who has lost everything, or who never had anything of his own to begin with, is forced to question everything around him as he embarks on this new trial.

Whom can he trust? Why has he been selected and thrown into this strange new setting? What happened to just being a slave? How can life be any different from the only way he's ever known? What is freedom, and at what cost?

This is Barloc's chance--perhaps his last chance--to once and for all cast off the chains that bind him. And maybe, just maybe, he can bring others to freedom with him.

Other Books by J.W. Zulauf:

The Underground Princess (The Balderdash Saga: Book 1)
The Prince's Plight (The Balderdash Saga: Book 2)
The Shaman's Salvation (The Balderdash Saga: Book 3)
The Balderdash Saga - Special Edition

200 pages, ebook

First published August 26, 2017

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About the author

J.W. Zulauf

12 books72 followers
J.W. Zulauf wears many hats while walking the streets of the writing world. He started with a focus on the short story, first winning the Marjorie Flack Award for Fiction. Then he became one of the editors for Daylight Dims, which has grown into an annual anthology. He now works as an author at Evolved Publishing, creating the children's series, 'The Balderdash Saga', beginning with 'The Underground Princess.'

Email: JWZ [at] JWZulauf [dot] com

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Profile Image for Lex Allen.
Author 26 books63 followers
July 7, 2017
In a world where slavery is legal, Barloc, a man who has known only fear, violence, and slavery is sold to Lord Harbor who offers promises of freedom. Barloc begins a thirty-day trial to determine his freedom and becomes more confused as daily events seem completely incongruous to his new owner’s pledge. Smarter than average, Barloc realizes that, regardless the weirdness of it all, this could be his last best chance for freedom and a better life. “Kingdom In Chains” is the beginning of award-winning author, J.W. Zulauf’s latest young adult fantasy story and it’s definitely an engrossing read.

“Kingdom In Chains” aims at the young adult reading audience, but Zulauf’s writing style and language will find a strong readership among adults, too. The story evolves effortlessly as Barloc is confronted with people and situations that mystify and confuse him until a situation occurs that clears the air just as war with King Sclavus begins and Barloc finds himself in a completely foreign, but more advantageous situation. Edge of your seat prose, great characterization, realistic events and dialogue are signature indices of great writing and Mr. Zulauf demonstrates each of these writing characteristics perfectly. These traits coupled with superb editing, and an ending that doesn’t drop you off a steep cliff make “Kingdom In Chains” a pleasure to read and the perfect start of a new series that will keep fantasy fans enthralled for months (or years) to come. I’m looking forward to the next installment as I’ve become a fan of J.W. Zulauf!
Profile Image for Jessica Bronder.
2,014 reviews22 followers
September 25, 2018
The Kingdom of Kuldaire was failing and Kind Sclavus decided to make slavery legal to keep things going. It has been 25 years and this is the story of Barloc. He has only known slavery and when he is sold to Lord Harbor he is offered the opportunity to be free. Of course Barloc agrees but he is confused with the tasks that he has been given. But how are the off things he does related to freedom. But you don’t plan a revolution out in the open.

This is a captivating story. It is a brutally honest look at slavery without focusing on the shocking gore, this is meant for young adults after all. You will find yourself right there with those wanting slavery and those fighting for freedom. You will cheer for freedom and hope that eventually they will throw off the chains of this kingdom.

I really enjoyed this story and love how the book ends without a major cliff hanger but leaves you wanted to see what happens in the next book. This is a great read and one that I recommend checking out.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
October 14, 2017
Kingdom In Chains was a slow burning read that spent a great deal of time setting up the world and immersing you into it completely. Zulauf writes a comprehensive tale of a man who has only know slavery as his way of life, but this tale has a beautiful movement to it and all is not what it may seem. Well written and expansive, by the time the story picks up, you are in the midst of the very kingdom in chains the title speaks of, walking and sweating beside the men and women as they bide their time in order to earn what is theirs. Thoroughly enjoyable and nicely detailed without it being overbearing and unnecessary giving your mind reason to wander and imagine the world under the thumb of an oppressive reign.
Profile Image for Jackson.
Author 6 books145 followers
March 21, 2018
Let me start by saying that this isn't a genre I normally read. I found myself pleasantly surprised by the immediate action and compelling story. Barloc is an interesting character who finds himself stuck in the worst of circumstances. I thought about this book when I wasn't reading it, and this is the type of book that could be turned into a movie or TV show. I give it 4.5 stars and look forward to the next one. 
Profile Image for Raven.
3,384 reviews52 followers
October 30, 2017
The plot really takes off, and how it is all going to end is totally unpredictable - the urge to keep turning pages increases in line with the pressure on the characters. Within the first few chapters, I just knew I couldn't put it down until I had devoured it's every content. It has been a long time since I have been so gripped by a book.
Profile Image for Anna Maria.
57 reviews4 followers
November 15, 2020
Kingdom in Chains is a very different book for sure. I listened to the audiobook, which I believe helped a lot in my enjoyment. Even though I didn't end up loving this book, I very much appreciated some of the choices the author made.

Firstly, this is a slow-paced book that focuses a lot on characters rather than action. Personally, I'm just fine with that but the lack of direction plot-wise in this book did bother me. What I mean is, for very long there wasn't a goal or a purpose the story was heading towards. There's page after page of the main character simply observing his surroundings rather than acting in them. And I know that he is technically a slave, so not so much of freedom, but I have read books with slaves before that weren't so passive. It may be a personal issue but I like a story that has a purpose from the beginning, otherwise, I feel like there's no point reading it in the first place.

With all of the above been said, I did find some of the things the author did, brilliant. In so many books we have brave, fearless characters that rush into battle, determined to win. Not in this book. Here we see the actual cruelty of battles and the fear the people feel. There were some intense moments that made me uncomfortable while reading.

As for the narration part, I think the narrator did a great job. He gave distinct voices to the characters and as I said before, he made the reading experience better and the slower parts of the book were still enjoyable to listen to.

Even if I found the story a little mediocre, I believe there's still value in this book and of course, the audio version is very good. People that enjoy more of a slow burn type of stories, could enjoy this one as well.
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews

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