It Began With Ashes

It Began With Ashes - D.E.M. Emrys Wroge has not seen war for twelve years, not since the Arneuton invasion. The Arneut rule, the Keltir serve, and the Vikir and Narz remain in exile. The blood of four races belongs to the earth of one land.
But what if blood was to run again?
Draven Reinhardt is a man with a nightmare of a past, dreaming of a better future. He paid his dues in blood and coin, settling for a quieter life, a better life. Gone are the knocks at the door from his past. But what happens when the future comes knocking?
Like any boy, Kale wants to follow in his father’s footsteps – if only he knew what they were. It’s hard enough to find his own feet in the walk of life, without knowing where he came from.
The walk of life is a lonely one for an outsider, Astartes will vouch for that. Raised a tax collector’s son, and born of foreign blood, he searches for a friend who will overlook the divide.
Divided, four races stand. United, someone will fall. Will the past shape the future, or can blood be washed clean?
‘It Began With Ashes’ is the story of how life’s greatest struggle is to accept who you are – a tale of broken promises, bitter grudges, and brotherhoods bound in blood.

The follow on from the short story From Man to Man follows Draven, his family and a host of other characters as the small village of Hearth is attacked by the banished warrior race of the Vikir.

Draven is an interesting character with a violent past, now settled into village life working at the blacksmiths, the book sets out initially with a dark tone as a twelve year old boy has his throat slit during a lads scuffle, with Dravens son Kale involved. Before any repercussions can be discussed the incident is somewhat overshadowed by the violent introduction of the Vikir as the village is decimated and the survivors escape into the forest.

After a difficult couple of days ride through the forest Draven and his fellow escapees join up with another group from the village, the travelling nomads the Sicrun, Astartes the tax collector and his son where the final battle takes place.
The story also follows Draven's wife Morganna's desperate plight as she and a group of the village wife's escape, Morganna has a bit of warriors blood in her as she takes on the Vikir giving chase but in the end to no avail as they are captured.

The story is told from alot of characters viewpoints, possibly too many for a such a short story. As the chief protagonist the story doesn't centre on Draven so much as everyone around him and I would have liked to have seen maybe a tandem storyline about Draven and Morganna's past. Also the Vikir warriors story may have benefited from a POV character to emphasize their quest for revenge against the banishment.
There is a good dose of action as all the characters fight for their lives and also alot of the story is given to the youngsters in the book and the tax collector, maybe these have prominent roles to play as the story develops but their character development seemed superficial to the crux of the story.
The story is fluent, well written and there is a lot of promise for the second outing of the Wroge Elements even though it ended to soon and I will certainly read the next instalment.