Ian's Realm Saga Trilogy Books 1-3 by D.L. Gardner Genre: YA Fantasy
Winner of Book Excellence Award 2019
Three books in one, this saga follows the adventures of Ian Wilson through the portal and into a magical land called the Realm. From slave boy to warrior, Ian encounters the dragon worshiping village, Menek, their enemies the Kaemperns, and the all powerful fire-breathing dragon Old Stenhjaert.
Part 1. Deception Peak
Ian's Realm Saga, is a young adult adventure fantasy about a teenager, Ian Wilson, who follows his father, Alex, through a portal that magically appears on their computer screen while they are creating a game engine. They travel into a deceptively beautiful Realm, where horses run wild, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatar (Xylon) comes to life. But when the two are separated, Ian is abducted by a tribe of dragon worshipers. In his struggle to be released, he causes chaos in the village and is banished into the wilderness with two other residents. They come upon a group of people who live for the sole purpose to destroy the dragon. They agree to help Ian find his father deep in the caves of the dragon's lair.
Alex is found, but not without sacrifice, causing a deepened relationship between Ian and the Kaempern leader, Amleth.
Alex and Ian ride for the portal home with the dragon at their heels. Alex, his father stops in his tracks and goes back with the intent to slay the dragon, sending his son to the portal to wait for him with the instructions that if he doesn't return by morning, go home without him. Alex never returns.
Part 2 Dragon Shield
Integrity isn't something you do, it's who you are," Aren tells the confused Ian in The Dragon Shield.
Now a young man, Ian returns to the magical Realm to fight against the tyranny that has befallen his friends. But the Realm is a different place, the forest is dying, the Kaemperns have lost the shield that protected them from the dragon, and Ian has a hard time proving his allegiance when trouble follows him through the portal. His struggle to do right buries him in confusion when he's confronted with a young boy who wields a powerful magical dagger which summons the dragon.
Part 3 Rubies and Robbers
"I will not let fear weaken us, not now" -says Ian as he dives into the cold waters of Moor Cove to find the escapees.
Ian has proven his abilities as a warrior and now the most dangerous battle begins, the battle against the power of evil. Ian must unravel the secrets of the mountain and discern whom his real enemy is, the enemy both without and within. He tackles with the twelve-year-old boy who seems to hold the fate of the entire Realm in his hands, and yet the pressing Songs of Wisdom call for compassion in his dealings. Ian leads his men in the fight against the powers of darkness. But he must also be willing to sacrifice everything he ever hoped to have in order to save those he loves.
As Ian drew closer to the vessel and waited in line, he examined the craftsmanship of the boat. It was a work of art. Its fine embellishment reminded him of his father’s artistry. A low boat with a tall mast, the sails had been tied and tucked; the tiller attached to the rudder was carved into a dragonhead. The oak planks of the keel were fastened together with wooden pegs. It was clean, waxed smooth, and smelled like the ocean.
“Step up here, boy,” one of the crew called to him. Ian moved his cart forward.
“You’re new,” the man said.
He was a weathered fellow. Ian couldn’t tell if he was old, or if it was just his rough skin that made him look that way. He had a gray beard and wore a black cap that shaded his face, so all Ian could see of his eyes were two sparkly blue dots. Several men that were with him threw fish into Ian’s cart.
“I was taken prisoner last night,” Ian told him.
“Prisoner?” the man grunted. “Well, I’ve never heard that one before. Prisoner are you?” He laughed. “And where do you come from?”
“My father and I traveled from the south west, but we aren’t from this country. We aren’t from here at all. We’re from...” Ian hesitated, not sure whether he should give his story or not. After a moment’s pause he gave in. What worse thing could happen to him that hasn’t already? “We’re from another world.”
The man chuckled. “Are you now? And is your father a prisoner too?”
Ian studied the man’s eyes and wondered if there was the slightest chance that these sailors could help him. “I don’t know what happened to my father. All I know is someone hit me on the head and brought me here.” At least Ian could prove that story what with the big white bandage wrapped around his head.
The man nodded. “Well, they must have hit you pretty hard if you’re believing you’re from another world. Go on now, your cart’s full.”
Layla: Born at Night Ian's Realm Saga Book 3.1
When Ian returns to the Realm in search of Abbi and Elisa he not only encounters the fiery dragon, but falls prey to a lovely temptress and a wicked queen.
When Elisa's friend becomes a victim of a drive-by shooting, Abbi and Elisa seek a magical cure in Ian's shield, but are accidentally transported into the Realm with no way back. Ian suspects their whereabouts and opens the portal to find them. His entry compromises the integrity of the seal which prevents the dragon from returning to the Realm. In his search for the girls, he stumbles upon a beautiful enchantress who offers to help him.
Ian pulled out his phone and checked the connection. “There’s been some signal in here, but it’s been spotty. If I could get enough reception to access my files, time wouldn’t be an issue at all.” After another failed attempt, Ian put the phone back into his pants pocket and focused on the flames.
“Is he going to meet us in Alcove Forest?”
“The portal isn’t there anymore. The portal is nearer the prairie. A longer walk for us, but an easier route for Brad and the Kaemperns.”
“All right. I’m ready to go home. Maybe you should get some sleep,” Abbi suggested, patting his knee. Her touch surprised him.
He thought of Layla and her warm gentle hands on his neck. He took Abbi’s hand and held it for a moment, and then placed it at her side. She looked hurt and folded her hands in her lap after that. “I will stay up and watch over the both of you,” he said.
“Ian…” she started, but when he looked into her eyes, her voice trailed. “Never mind.”
“Get some rest, Abbi.”
Abbi bedded down in what bit of soft dirt there was and closed her eyes. Ian continued to watch the fire, adding small pieces of timber and brush. When it died down, he stood and warmed his back, looking out into the dark of the night. Only the stars were visible beyond the campfire.
The stars, and a figure moving toward him came into view. He squinted, not sure if he were hallucinating from fatigue. “Layla?” he asked.
“Yes, Ian,” she said. She didn’t stop approaching him, but kept coming, and behind her were five other women dressed the same as she, fully armed, their hair playing colors with the firelight. She stepped up to him and before he could decipher the danger, she drew his sword from his sheath and handed it to a woman behind her. He struck out to stop her, but she blocked his thrust, taking hold of his wrist and bending his elbow behind his back.
“What do you want from me?” He squinted from the pain.
“The key to the portal, Ian. That’s all. There’s something locked up in there that we care dearly about.” She frisked his pockets until she found the phone, tossing the pocketknife to another woman. “This!”
“You have no idea how to use that. It’s useless to you.”
He eyed Abbi stirring. Elisa still slept.
“No. You’re right. That’s why you’re coming with us.”
“What’s happening?” Abbi sat up, wiped the hair from her eyes and jumped to her feet.
“Nothing to be too concerned about,” Layla said. “We’re taking your boyfriend to our ship until he answers some questions.”
“We could take them all,” one of the women suggested.
“No!” Layla answered quickly. “I want this one for my own.” She smiled at Abbi. “Your loss!”
Abbi made a move to fight but was immediately restrained by two of the women.
“Don’t, Abbi,” Ian said, fearful she’d be hurt. “Let me handle this. Take care of Elisa.” He could see the rage and terror in Abbi’s eyes when they locked onto his. He nodded, hoping she’d understand that he’d do everything he could to escape.
That was the last connection he had with her before he was escorted out of the camp, and through the rock-strewn landscape that led to the sea.
Fallen Morning Ian's Realm Saga Book 3.2
After the death of her precious soldier, Queen Hacatine, in a fit of rage, commands her ambassadors to kill the Magic Thief and capture Layla's murderer.
Ian is a wanted man.
A Taikan slave boy, Rolando, voyages with the assassins. The ship encounters a squall and is soon battered to pieces. The Taikans escape leaving Rolando on the sinking ship. He saves the Sage's chest of incantations and barely survives himself. His intent is to find Hacatine's ambassadors and return the clandestine strongbox—but meets Silvio the Wizard instead.
Rolando's world is turned upside down.
Brad and Elisa Huntington return to Seattle from the Realm only to be crudely interrogated by Drew, Abbi's father. After Brad passes a polygraph test, his dad and Drew have no recourse but to believe his story. Soon scientists are forging through the portal in search of the Realm.
Drew wants his daughter back.
Soon a search party spread out into the woods. Abbi stepped back into the yurt, hoping for clues. Where would Simi had gone? The room was dimly lit and there was a strange odor in the air. The candle flickered from the breeze sweeping in through the open door. If she hadn’t paused to think, she may have missed the vial that lay empty on the table—a thin, glass tube. The cork stopper had been removed and lay next to it. The pewter rim was endowed with tiny etchings of entangled sea serpents. She took a whiff of its contents and nearly choked. A faint haze—not steam or smoke—but a gas of some sort seeped out of the vial.
“Taikus?” she thought. She spun around the room until she saw a pile of clothing—the clothing Simi had been wearing that day. Inspecting them closer, she found the silk garment Simi had arrived in. “That witch!”
Jeppe burst in the door and stormed to Ian’s trunk. “If we find him, he’ll need a wrap, bandages.” Frantically he grabbed a blanket.
“Jeppe. Stop! Look.” Abbi held the vial up but Jeppe was too much in a panic to focus. She took his arm. “You aren’t going to find him out there in the woods He’s been abducted. The Taikans have him.”
The look on his face mirrored the terror in her heart.
“That Simi woman, she’s not a Menek. She’s a Taikan. She drugged Ian. There had to have been others here who helped her steal him away.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Look at this room. It’s been ransacked. Simi changed her clothes before they left and not into what she had on when she got here!” She held up the silk. “If we find him it will be in Moor Cove boarding a Taikan sea vessel. Unconscious most likely.” She tossed the vial on the cabinet where she had found it. “You men do what you think is best. I’m going after him. No one is going to hurt my husband and not pay for it. And that includes the tyrant who beat him up in the first place.” She spun around to storm out the door and collided with Aren.
“The tyrant was me, Abbi.”
If he was sorry for it, she didn’t hear it in his voice. “Then I hope you’re happy! Because that Taikan witch queen will kill him if she gets to him before I do!” Tears were not in the agenda. Rage was. Aren took her arm gently, but firmly.
“You’ll not go alone. We have men for this. Already Amleth and Alex have been alerted. We’ll go as a team—”
“If it’s all the same with you, I’d rather go alone.” She pulled her arm out of his grasp and pushed past him. “You’ve done enough damage.”
She heard Jeppe’s boot heels catching up, but it didn’t matter. No one was going to stop her. She came to the Realm with Ian, he asked her to marry him, and by heaven’s grace she’ll keep him alive and marry him if it kills her.
Diary of a Conjurer
Ian's Realm Saga Book 4
When the old wizard Silvio eyes a woman dragging an unconscious young man ashore on his beach, he suspects the worst. A sorceress warrior from the island of Taikus could mean nothing but ill will. But who is the boy? With a burst of magic, he freezes the warrior into a bronze statue, and nurtures the boy back to health. The teenager, Ivar, explains that he is on a quest to discover his past, but a violent storm cast him into the sea.
Silvio's suspicions grow, and he wonders why a Taikan would rescue an archer from Kaempern since they are known enemies.
When Silvio joins Ivar on his journey, his answers come all too quickly. He, too, becomes the evil queen's prey, and there's a reason she's keeping him alive.
“He made a mockery of wizardry? The nerve! Weren’t for that song I’d leave him to his devilry! Bah!”
It was an old song, a melody that had echoed through Alcove forest many years ago, this time with new lyrics that boiled Silvio’s blood. Not only did it convict Silvio against deserting the youth, but also it confirmed who Ivar was.
Oh woe to the loss of the young man fair Whose dreams float away on the midnight air? Who found his hope in the dragon’s lair? Though the dagger is gone Its spirit lives on The Beloved lays prey, to the ancient of days. Give strength to the youth so far from home. Give strength to the youth so far from home.
“Give him what? Bah! A tiny bit of magic is all I have, and I’ll not pass it on to the likes of him!” Silvio shook his fist in the air, angry with the Northern Wind and its song. “He made a mockery of magic. I’ll not give it to him! I won’t!” He turned his back to the sea, cutting short any further conversation with the wind. He mumbled to himself as he walked through the moonlit sand dunes, kicking up shells and granules with his toes.
“I’ll not be listening to your voice. Fool idea, making Ivar my apprentice. Not right at all. Sing to some other fool. The boy’s a rascal. A scallywag I tell you. The powers of a conjurer would be peril in his hands. “The old man shivered more from his hot temper than the cold. “Not wind to listen to, even if the Kaemperns did declare you wise. No accounting for that little miscreant. You could be wrong you know!”
Silvio had retreated to the beach earlier that evening seeking solitude after Ivar had fallen asleep. Now, after hearing the songs and rejecting their meaning, he began his lonely walk back to the campsite. The moon was full. The sands glowed blue in its light, the air warm and breezy. The only sound was the constant rumble of the sea, until branches snapped behind him. Bent and unable to move quickly, he turned around, unprepared for the surprise that waited.
Cassandra's Castle Ian's Realm Book 5
Finalist Book Excellence Award 2017
A unique YA Fantasy page-turner that spans the void between vastly different worlds, Gardner captures the most endearing qualities of the genre in a story that's both refreshing and original. -Book Viral Review
Readers who love excitement, peril and sweet romance will enjoy this time-travel adventure.
Eighteen years after her father visited the Realm, Cassie discovers a portal to the same world when she takes a selfie with her cell phone. Against the wishes of her friends, she goes in and finds herself captured by a grumpy old wizard. Its through him she learns of the unrest happening in the kingdom called Alisubbo. When a handsome cavalry officer, Valerio, appears with his troops in all his pompous attire, Cassie is taken breathless.
The cunning Valerio immediately recognizes the opportunity of befriending this lovely, young and naive stranger and sweet-talks her into helping his cause. Her mission, deliver an Appeal for Peace to the king. Cassie willingly takes the job, thrilled that she finally has the adventure she's wanted all her young life.
Tragically for her, the letter is not what Valerio says it is. Cassie discovers she's been a pawn in a coup to overthrow the king. She discovers the lies and false accusations too late. Before she can stop the violence, her hands are stained in blood. She must somehow turn the tide, save the life of the heir, and persuade him to return and rescue Alisubbo from Valerio's tyranny.
Other books in this series include Ian's Realm Saga and Diary of a Conjurer and the Tale of the Four Wizards which are published on my website.
In the late afternoon she awoke to a faint sound that whispered on the breeze. “Odd. Am I dreaming?” Blinking at the sunlight that peeked through the treetops, she listened carefully. It can’t be. Music?
Not the song of a bird, though it was just as sweet, nor the whisper of the wind, though it was just as light. It was the sound of a violin.
Oh my gosh. That has to be him! Cassie collected her things and stuffed them into her pack which she heaved onto her back. When she stood, she took note of the direction of the music. Now certain of her destination, she hurried into the grasslands.
An old fortress stood nestled in the weeds; a stone ruin that had been a grand castle in its time. Built by the queen of Taikus in Silvio’s tale, this stronghold was partially destroyed and yet some parts of it seemed to be fully functional. What was once a tower had collapsed, leaving huge bricks, rubble of cut rock, and half standing pillars scattered across the meadow, with spikes rising high above the grass. Crumbled walls protruded from the earth, hinting at legends of grandeur from another age.
Cassie followed the melody to one of the chambers. Reluctant to interrupt, she slowed as she neared the alcove, and stopped next to a gap in the stone wall, which must have been a window years ago. Despite the curious remains of the structure, the music had Cassie’s undivided attention.
A single stringed melody resonated from the violin, first a painful, sorrowful refrain; then as gentle as a tender kiss.
She leaned over the stones and gazed into a room vacant of any furnishings. A single ray of light shone into a corner, and rested on the back of a young man. His uniform torn, his arm that held the violin wrapped heavily in bindings. He had been critically wounded yet he displayed no sign of physical pain. Engrossed in his song, his body moved to the rhythm of the music. Chin nestled on the instrument that had become a part of him, hands too large for the slender bow, fingers trembled across the strings in complex chords. The instrument was his vocal, singing a ballad too pure for the human voice.
Cassie watched, transported in time and space by the sound of his melancholy.
Every note he played, every move he made, told his story. It sang of his patriotism, it cried in agony of the death of his father and his brother; it mourned the loneliness of exile.
His long dark hair danced with the swaying of his body. Tender for a moment.
He could have been wielding a sword, fighting a battle that raged within his own soul. The violin resonated with a barrage of harmonious discord throughout the empty halls. Through the wrenching pulse of the music, his grief was evident.
Finally, the quiet, euphonious cry of a single string ended the chorus; a complete circle to where it began.
Cassie closed her eyes. The agony that had been in him rushed through her own veins. He had spoken in a voice with no words. She turned to face the sun, leaned against the cool stone, and slid to the ground, overwhelmed by his song.
Here was the young king, so close and yet so unapproachable. When the music stopped, she waited, wondering what she should do next, not wanting to startle him, or enrage him.
He thinks I’m an assassin. How will I ever convince him otherwise?
Lost on Taikus Ian's Realm Saga Book 6
When the young wizard Abbott is abducted as a little boy, he is taken to the castle of the wicked queen Hacatine and condemned to wait his young life as a prisoner until he comes of age and his sentence is executed.
But even as a child, Abbott has other plans. When he meets the beautiful albino slave girl who spins silk from a butterfly's spittle he is more determined to not only escape, but bring the entire queen's court with him.
D.L.Gardner is an award winning author and screenwriter, taking home the Book Excellence Award for her Amazon's best selling Ian's Realm Saga as well as various other prestigious awards for her audio books and screenplays. Her young adult adventure fantasy and historical fantasy novels are loved by youth and adults all over the world.
"Dianne's wonderfully descriptive writing style will have you so involved in the story that in a sense you will have forgotten that it was just a story."
Dianne is a columnist for Amazing Stories Magazine, one of the most popular science fiction and fantasy magazines of all time. She's taught workshops and participated on panels at conferences and film festivals. Her concept film for Ian's Realm has won numerous fantasy short awards in L.A., New York and New Zealand.
Dianne was born in Ohio and raised in southern CA. She attended Northern AZ University and later continued her education in the Pacific Northwest. She's an oil painter, book illustrator, screenwriter and filmmaker.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I loved writing when I was younger. Writing essays for school, writing term projects, and I wrote a lot of poetry. I love to tell stories. I’m an artist also and tell stories with my artwork. I tried writing a few novels when I was younger but didn’t have the correct tools and knowledge. So one day I decided I had too many paintings, and I was going to start telling stories through the written word and then I began researching, studying, taking workshops and reading books on methods and techniques of writing. I took psychology as a minor in college and love studying people, that’s what I love about art as well, the human figure, and in literature, the human condition.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Probably how I spent years in the desert living in a mud hut raising sheep, riding horses, and being wild!
What are some of your pet peeves?
People chewing behind me. Cats scratching my furniture.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Ohio and raised in sunny California very near Hollywood.
Who is your hero and why?
Maybe it’s corny to say, but my husband is my hero. He lets me do whatever I want I’m so spoiled. He doesn’t mind if I paint all day or write all day or forget to wash the dishes or make the bed. He loves doing laundry and does just about anything that needs to be done around the house. He pays the bills. Does the shopping. He just lets me create. And then he’s my biggest fan especially of my paintings. *he doesn’t like ALL my books, but some of them. He’s always bragging on me too. I couldn’t have a better husband.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Not a particularly good one. I would rule with an iron fist until I saw what a mean person I was and then I’d be apologetic and let people get away with murder and then I’d feel guilty. Nah…not my thing.
What are you passionate about these days?
My characters. Oh, my goodness I am falling in love with my latest main characters. Grai’s spirit from Hoarfrost to Roses (coming out early next year) and Arell in Sword of Cho Nisi. I am having so much fun writing these books and editing them.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Puzzles. I have a 3,000 piece puzzle in my studio. I turn the music up (Pandora) and zone out.
How to find time to write as a parent?
NA kids are grown up.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote poetry when I was a teenager. I found the medium helped me dig into a deeper layer of myself and felt a camaraderie with people like Edgar Allen Poe, and Shakespeare, and J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. When you can search your inner soul and form words to express what’s in there, and then turn it into a story…that’s when you’re a writer and I found myself doing that a little bit at a time. It’s a revelation. Its why people say writers can’t NOT write. It’s part of their DNA.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I have several. One that I always answer this question with is Ever After. Drew Barrymore was so wonderful in it, and I still cry when I watch it. But Lord of the Rings was phenomenal. I also love the Narnia movies. And John Adams, the series. Oh and I can’t forget the Outlander…I’m eagerly waiting for season 6.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
All of them. We’ve already filmed a concept film for Ian’s Realm. If we had millions of dollars that movie would be a blockbuster!
What inspired you to write this book?
There are several things. One and most importantly is I watched my grandsons grow up without a dad and realized how important fathers are in their sons’ lives. My main character Ian spends much of the story without his father, who for many of his own reasons, ends up not being the dad that Ian needed. The story’s message to young men is that even if your father has failed you, you can still grow up to be the man you wish your father had been.
Another inspiration is I always wanted to paint a dragon and could never think of a good excuse (as if one needs an excuse to paint a dragon). So, when I started writing Ian’s Realm, I started painting Stenhjaert the dragon (you can see him on my website). The dragon expanded to 3 panels 4 ft X 3 ft eventually so I could get his wingspan in. Then each panel became a book cover for the first three books (out of print now and rewritten and combined into the trilogy).
Another inspiration was my many walks in the forest. The trees talked to me. Seriously!
What can we expect from you in the future?
More romance in my stories.
I finished an adult high fantasy romance which will be out in 2021. I’m also just finishing a paranormal (sweet) romance that I think you’ll enjoy.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I do and I need to publish them. I have a lot of side stories about the characters in Ian’s Realm and Cassandra’s Castle. I should work on those and get them to you.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Ian starts off the series as a 15 year old boy and ends up as a young man. In Cassandra’s Castle, he’s about middle age, being Cassandra’s father. As a boy he’s insecure. He lost his mom who died so he relies heavily on his father, who knows that Ian depends too much on him and that’s part of the conflict that arises between the two. Alex also is devastated by his wife’s death. Ian’s is co-dependent, and his dad Alex knows he’s not the god that Ian’s makes him out to be. Dad wants Ian to see he can’t live up to his expectations. He doesn’t forsake his son on purpose, fate plays a part in that. But when Ian realizes he’s alone in the world, he carries the weight of being abandoned with him for an exceptionally long time. As the stories progress he finds love in Abbi, but, like his dad did to him, Ian keeps her at arm’s distance. As he grows into a young man his first experience with passion is in Layla and he begins to see the difference between a real relationship (Abbi) and a seductive relationship (Layla). He comes to a rude awakening and has to make some hard life choices both Layla and Fallen Morning.
Who designed your book covers?
Her name is Les and I love her to pieces. She’s designed almost all my book covers. I found her on Fivrr believe it or not. She goes as Germancreative on there.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m actually doing that right now. ?
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned to slow down. I’m editing now and taking each paragraph at a time and turning it into literature.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?