Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway: CAIRNS OF SAINCTUARIE by Hawk MacKinney

Welcome to my stop on the book review tour for Cairns of Sainctuarie (The Bleikovat Event - Book 1) by Hawk MacKinney, a 228 page Sci-Fi novel available now from Sage World Publishing. This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.

Hawk will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn host. Click on the banner to visit other stops on this tour. Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


The Cairns of Sanctuarie: Volume I - The Bleikovat Event

Among the close-kin clans of western rural Malfesian Murians, farming and gelf ranches are long held traditions. Times are good…full barns, fat gelf calves and large families thrive among the sprawling grain fields and hamlets and the river from which they derive their name—the Feldon. Word comes with the trade caravans that times are not so good in the regions far to the east of the Feldon River: tumultuous changes stir among the remote province of Bleikovia. Old timer Feldovats shrug it off as one more squabble between clans over boundaries or water rights…too distant to affect the Feldovats.

The western clans learn too late, however, it is no local squabble. Outnumbered and unprepared, Feldovats resist a hoard bent on plunder and conquest. Days of battle along the Feldon River stain the riverbanks in green Murian blood. In the finals days of exhausted fighting, Judikar Klarvko Celo, leader of the Clan Klarvkon and the Feldovats, is fatally stabbed with the slow-acting sevon poison. The Judikar’s consort, Etikaa Klarvkaa, becomes Regentkaa, and with Celovat Field Commander Korvo Celo serving as her advisor, she leads the demoralized Feldovat survivors on a gruesome ill-prepared winter trek through high mountain passes of ice and blizzard snow in an attempt to elude the Green Dragon forces of the Bleikovats.

Etkaa’s only son, Klarvko Celo II, helps spirit Feldovat young across a remote mountain exodus to the west toward Eedov Province. The battered, starving Feldovats reach the Malfesian coast at Eedov City only to be confronted with their implacable enemy determined to destroy the remaining Klarvkon rabble. Taking passage on crowded lumbering Maalonovion freighters, Feldovats and Malfesian refugees set sail. On arrival in Maalon City they are welcomed among their Maalon hosts, and settle into a new life.

But famine and a pandemic pestilence stir old hates and nurse former ambitions. The enraged Overseers of Bleikovia move against the Klarvkons, this time bringing bloodshed to Maalonovia. The exiles from the Feldon must fight once again, but starvation and plague across the Planete Myr make it a different war from the battles along the Feldon…a na’ä blikovat…the Bleikovvat Phenomenon…an event with unexpected consequences and outcomes none could have foreseen.

Before the vendetta killing is exhausted, the Regentkaa Klarvkaa and her son are swept onto the Maalon throne, setting the Klarvkon Dynasty and the Murians toward an intergalactic golden age, and a star-flung destiny the once-agrarian Feldovats could never have envisaged.



The catafalque of the old Dowager Queen rested on the high rostrum of the Temple of the Goddess Myraa. There was little ceremony to the cremation of dead. Yet, all that had passed made this requiem for the Dowager Queen Klarvkaa Etkaa Bremanova Celovaa Bremanova symbol of the changes which had swept so many lives. Long annuals before the ascendancy of The Klarvkon Dynasty, the massive wood and granite Temple to the Goddess Myraa had been destroyed in the firestorm which laid waste Eedov City. After the close of the Malfesian War the temple was rebuilt, but not the city. On the ashes of the old temple, immense columns rose above the sanctuary and vaults. Iridescent alabaster and polished marbles greeted pilgrim supplicants who had come to the shoreline plains washed by the Green Sea.

Dowager Etkaa Klarvkaa…wife, myäat, founding matriarch of the Klarvkon Dynasty, gave hope from a time without hope. As was her wish, she would be cremated on the soil of her birth, her ashes to mingle with those of her consort, Klarvko Celo. Their son, His Imperial Majesty Klarvko Celo the Second, decreed it would be. At the enormous base of the great temple…a spectacle never seen before and seldom since those times, came an undulating ocean of banners. Some of clans which no longer existed, even the once-hated Green Dragon of Bleikovia. Murians had taken her to their hearts…and never relinquished her. Her shadow would reach across the centuries, and measure all who followed.


I won't summarize much. The blurb above pretty much says it all.

Caught up in the good life, the western clans of the Feldon failed to realize that the enemy plaguing eastern clans along the Feldon River would soon be at their doors. When the enemy finally arrived, there were no strong allies left to help them. In a bold and unusual move, the consort of the fallen Clan Klarvkon leader steps up to lead the Feldovats against enemy forces. The hardest challenges begin here.

As I read about the plight of the Feldovats, it reminded me of the famous Martin Niemöller (Protestant pastor and Nazi concentration camp survivor) quotation (versions vary):

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

I must confess that I started this book somewhat intimidated by the blurb. I continued to be intimidated through chapter 2. I was thrown off by the meaning and pronunciation of the clan and character names presented in the story (ex. the Regentkaa's name - Klarvkaa Etkaa Celovaa Bremanovaa). I twisted my ponytail as I clicked pages, unsure if I could easily follow the characters throughout the story.  

That was only a momentary worry. Things are started to click with chapter 3. By chapter five, I was overly engrossed and sneering, "Bring it on, Bleikovats punks. Regentkaa Etkaa and the Feldovats will never bow down."

Character-driven and fast-paced, this is an epic tale that weaves a story about fighting for survival with strings of fantasy, loyalty, and ethics. I especially liked the attention to scene detail. I could really picture them in my mind. I excitedly followed storyline events using the maps provided at the end of the book. MacKinney has a nice turn of phrase which should help Cairns of Sainctuarie stand-out in the sea of fantasy books. His writing style is descriptive and succinct. Two qualities that don't often come together in sci-fi and fantasy novels.  

All in all, Cairns of Sainctuarie is a promising start to the series. It will be a hearty treat for sci-fi and fantasy readers. It offers complex world building, a strong heroine as war leader, and lots of action.

NOTE: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I'd like to have a clak (see the animal on the cover) of my own.

AUTHOR Bio and Links

Welsh and Scottish Hawk MacKinney grew up in northwest Arkansas, and wrote for his school newspaper. Hawk served over twenty years as a Special Staff Corps Officer with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, a Naval Academy Blue and Gold Recruiting Officer, a Navy Recruiting Command Liaison Officer, and Commanding Officer of units attached to the U.S. Marine Corps bases at Parris Island, South Carolina and Twentynine Palms, California. Along with his postgraduate degrees, he studied English and Russian history and foreign languages. As a faculty member in major medical and veterinarian universities, he authored professional articles and taught postgraduate courses in the United States and Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem. In addition to his sci-fi series, The Cairns of Sainctuarie, Hawk MacKinney has authored the Craige Ingram Mystery Series and Moccasin Trace, a historical romance nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. 


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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. MAD Hoydenish - in a followup to The Bleikovat Event book blast, Thank You for hosting this review tour of The Bleikovat Event, Vol-I of The Cairns of Sainctuarie. Giving linguistics, syntax & semantics visual-to-ear twists & bumpy turns was fun…AND the intrigue of painting a character in words. Taking character-driven plots in tales of green-blood worlds and cultures, yet in familiar ways showing they could be the same as ours, while keeping more than a touch of romance in rough and ready conflicts blurs the lines between genres I like to mix. Vol-II of Cairns, The Missing Planets was released this fall, 2014 with Vol-III in the works.

      Hawk MacKinney

  2. Loved the review. This really sounds like a fascinating and unusual story.

    1. It is a good review...that many of my associates in publishing-marketing-editing contributed. It caught the core theme of Vol-I, which underlies Vol-II, The Missing Planets & the upcoming Vol-III & IV in the Cairns series. I thoroughly enjoyed the write of it, & like the reviewer…I’d sort’a like to have a clak to ride…some of my quarter horses were mustang-rides. Thank U for stopping by & commenting -

      Hawk MacK

  3. Replies
    1. A good reviewer & a good in-depth review - thank U for stopping by & leaving your comment -

      Hawk MacKinney

  4. I enjoyed the book trailer and "liked" it on You Tube.

    1. I often watch the trailer(s) on all my titles....sci-fi & mystery thrillers. I'd like to claim I outlined/designed them BUT I didn't. The video(s) graphics/content/background(s) were put together by experts in their own right AND give me whole new slants on words put between bk covers -OR- You Tube. Much pleased that you "liked" it...will pass on your comment to the authors & artists...thank U for stopping by & commenting.

      Hawk MacKinney