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SIGNED -- Shields in Shadow (The Silent Champions #1)


Burdened with legend. Hardened by battle scars. Hellbent on bloody revenge.

As the son of a famous general, Aravon is proud to captain his own company against his people's enemy. But the experienced veteran’s march toward glory dissolves into pain as ruthless barbarians massacre every last one of his soldiers. Burning for vengeance, he leaps at the chance to spearhead a specially-trained company and pay back his tragic defeat with blood.

Desperate to not repeat his tragic past, Aravon trains his new warriors relentlessly. But the captain fears that all the tactical drills in the world may not matter when they’re forced to defend a helpless village against overwhelming odds. As his quick raids sow chaos amongst the enemy, the bloodthirsty savages threaten to make Aravon's nightmarish history repeat itself…

Can the captain take command of his fighting spirit before the kingdom falls to barbarous invaders?

Buy Shields in Shadow to stand at the frontlines of a hero’s revenge today!


(Each paperback is hand-signed and personalized by me. Swag included!)

elite warriors
special forces unit
band of brothers
secret identity
Roman Legion

SIGNED -- Shields in Shadow (The Silent Champions #1)

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The cry from the rear of the Legion's column was drowned out by the thrum of a hundred bowstrings being released. A moment later, a hail of arrows streaked from the thick trees bordering both sides of the Eastmarch road.

Captain Aravon acted on instinct honed over fifteen years of drills and training. Sliding off his horse’s back, he threw himself behind the nearest Legionnaire and his shield.

Something sliced the air a finger's breadth from Aravon's ear. The Legionnaire in front of him grunted as an arrow punched into his back. Blood sprayed from his mouth as he grunted, gurgled, and collapsed at Aravon’s side.

Aravon fought down the instinctive horror and sorrow as the man slumped. Grieve later, he told himself as the man, and so many more around him, fell to the hail of arrows. He ripped the shield from the dying Legionnaire's grasp and stood in the first line.

"Close up!" he shouted. His heart hammered in his chest, sweat soaked his palms, and his mouth had gone suddenly dry. Yet his training asserted itself in his mind, pushing back the icy fingers of panic.

The Legionnaires' discipline kicked in before his order made it down the line. The eighty men still standing rushed to close ranks, forming a line four rows deep and twenty men long. Those in the front row presented shields to the enemy, while those behind angled their shields upward, like a tortoise's protective carapace, to ward off the plunging fire.

Arrows rained all around him from east and west, clattering in a hailstorm against the Legionnaires’ shields and armor, far too many finding Princelander flesh. The grunts, screams, and wails of wounded men filled the air, echoing in time with the unceasing thrumming of Eirdkilr bowstrings. Arrows banged and clattered against the Legion shields. All around him, the stink of nervous sweat thickened the air. Yet Aravon’s men held firm, shields held fast, steel in their hearts.

At the rear of the column, the shrill cries of terrified and dying draft animals filled the air. The armorless drivers of the company's baggage train were scythed down beneath the hail of arrows.

One quick-witted cartman managed to scramble to safety beneath his cart, fear and horror twisting his bone-white face. A moment later, an arrow punched through the flank of one of his harnessed draft animals. The horse reared up, twisting in its traces, its shrieks of agony high-pitched and grating. Panicked by the smell of blood and the screams of its harness mate, the second horse reared as well and tried to bolt. The sudden movement snapped the wagon’s front wheels and brought it crashing down with skull-crushing force atop the driver.

Wood splintered and casks shattered on the paved stone, spilling gold—the Legion's pay—across the Eastmarch. The sight brought a renewed howl from the Eirdkilrs.

A hand seized Aravon’s collar and dragged him backward into the middle line. He immediately raised his shield and the gap he'd left in the front line was filled by the soldier he'd replaced.

"Good to see you made it, Captain!" Lieutenant Naif shouted in his ear. The man cradled his left arm against his chest, the broken-off shaft of an arrow still embedded in his forearm.

"How bad is it, Lieutenant?" Aravon asked. The need to command, to keep a clear head and give commands to keep his men alive, was all that stopped the nervousness from overwhelming his mind. His soldiers counted on him, and he’d be damned if he let them down.

Naif looked down at the wound and shrugged. "Won't be playing the lyre anytime soon, but I can still swing a sword."

The cacophony of arrows clattering off Legion shields was occasionally interrupted by a grunt or cry as a missile found flesh. Men screamed and fell, or snarled curses as they snapped off shafts stuck in their helmets, pauldrons, or shields. The hailstorm of shafts slowed and ceased, the sky brightening.

The enemy had changed tactics.

"Prepare for a charge!" Captain Aravon cried. He dropped his voice. "Looks like you'll get your chance," he told Naif.

Howls echoed through the forest around them—a fierce animal sound that chilled even Captain Aravon to the bone. He'd heard it before from across the battlefield, but never like this. Alone with his company, what remained of it, twenty miles from Anvil Garrison, the nearest Legion outpost. Just Sixth Company against however many Eirdkilrs hid in the woods.

His heart plummeted as scores, then hundreds of fur-clad barbarians burst from the dense tree cover. Seven feet tall, with long, braided hair and beards that streamed in the wind, faces stained a hideous blue. Over their iron-studded leather vests they wore the filthy, off-white pelts of Wasteland ice bears. Their gut-twisting war chant filled the air. "Death to the half-men!" Words every Legionnaire beside him had learned to fear.
With a final howl, they raised their massive axes, clubs, and spears and charged.

The enormous barbarians pounded across the cleared space between the Eastmarch road and the forest, a wall of steel and death that closed the distance in seconds. Aravon leaned into his shield, the wood and steel strong against his shoulder, the grip of his sword solid in his hand. His teeth gritted and he prepared for impact.


A hundred simultaneous clashes echoed up and down the Legion lines as the Eirdkilrs struck. Steel and fur-covered flesh slammed into Legion shields, and the foremost rank of Legionnaires was hurled backward beneath the impact of huge bodies. Even with the middle ranks to brace them, the force of the charging barbarians was too much for their thinned lines to absorb. Soldiers slipped on ground made slick by the blood of their fallen comrades. The front rank struggled to repel the enemy, stabbing their short swords between their shields. The men in the second rank used their short spears to bite back at the enemies locked with their comrades, filling the gaps as more Legionnaires fell.

One, just in front of the Captain's position, stumbled as a barbarian club smashed into his rectangular shield and drove the steel rim into his face. He slammed into the man behind him, and an Eirdkilr rushed into the gap. A Legionnaire in the second rank thrust between the shields to chop at the barbarian's knees. The huge man fell, and the Legionnaire beside the Captain finished the fallen savage with a quick stab of his spear.

The grim song of battle filled the air: Legionnaires screamed, cried, and cursed; steel clashed with iron and wood. The howling of the Eirdkilrs added an otherworldly, inhuman dissonance to the symphony of death.

Captain Aravon gripped his short sword in sweaty palms, fought against the burning ache in his left arm and shoulder. The shield suddenly seemed an immense weight, yet the only thing that stood between life and death. His breath came so fast it felt he couldn’t fill his lungs before the air exploded from his lips. In that instant, the clash of weapons on shields, the thumps of weapons striking flesh, the crack of shattered shields and bones, and the screams of the wounded and dying filled his world. He could see nothing but the barbarians howling in front of him, hurling themselves at his men, snarling guttural curses in their desire to slaughter every Legionnaire.

Aravon was barely aware of Lieutenant Naif on his left, Sergeant Bytin on his right, and Corporal Older immediately before him. With effort, he pulled himself back from the narrowing battle vision, forced himself to scan the foremost ranks between him and the barbarians. They were being hammered by the Eirdkilrs, yet managed to hold their ground. But with the attack coming from both sides of the road, their lines were stretched dangerously thin. Two rows of desperate, hemmed-in Legionnaires were all that stood between him and the Eirdkilrs.

Then the Legionnaire in front of Corporal Older screamed and staggered backward, his face shredded by an Eirdkilr spear. Blood spattered Aravon’s face, neck, and hands as the soldier sagged. Crimson soaked the man’s burnished breastplate, and his collapsing weight bore down the man behind him. For a single instant, a gap opened in the ranks. The Legionnaires hurried to re-form, close the opening before the enemy punched through.

Too late.

A massive Eirdkilr barreled his way through the lines, whirling his axe about like a hurricane of steel and death. He brought the double-headed blade crashing onto the nearest Legionnaire’s shield. The metal rim bent, wood splintered, and the impact hurled the man into the soldier at his side. The whirling Eirdkilr swung his axe around in a devastating blow that sheared through a man’s neck and sent a Legion-helmeted head flying.

Aravon flinched as more blood sprayed hot and warm along his upraised sword arm, dripped down his helmet into his face, yet he drove his short sword into the barbarian’s exposed stomach. The Eirdkilr fell with a scream, but the damage had been done.

Howling in triumph, more Eirdkilrs drove into the gap. Legionnaires fell back before the savagery of the attack. Many fell, never to rise again.

Aravon scooped up a shield and pressed forward into the breach. He found himself face to face with a huge barbarian. Though he wore the same leather tunic, mail shirt, and steel skullcap as his comrades, he stood apart. Not just his long, braided blond beard and his eyes, an azure deeper and harder than his blue-stained face. He stood taller than the rest, the breadth of his shoulders hulking. And instead of the dirty white ice bear pelt worn by all the other Eirdkilrs, his fur cloak had been dyed a deep red—dyed or stained with blood.

With a howl, the blue-painted barbarian raised an enormous club overhead and brought it crashing down. Captain Aravon tried to dodge, but Legionnaires pressed too close on either side. He could do nothing but raise the shield.

Agony seared through Aravon’s arm, spiking from wrist to elbow as the blow splintered the shield and shattered his elbow. Crying out, Aravon fell back, barely retaining a grip on his sword.

The barbarian loomed over him, raising the club once more. For an agonizing heartbeat, pain rendered Aravon helpless. He could do nothing but stare his sneering, blue-painted death in the pitiless face.

Then Lieutenant Naif materialized beside him. The Legionnaire shoved Aravon backward and drove his sword into the enormous barbarian's side. Chain mail links parted beneath the blade's razor tip. With a growl, Lieutenant Naif buried his short sword to the hilt.

The Eirdkilr's howl turned into a cry of horrible agony. His club fell from his fingers, and he clamped his hands over the blood gushing from the wound. Lieutenant Naif tried in vain to twist his sword free. After a moment of struggle, he released his grip on the hilt and drove a dagger into the barbarian's eye.

All around them, the line buckled beneath the onslaught, and the barbarians charged into the gaps. Legionnaires fell beneath the stampede. Try as they might to hold their formation, they could not stem the tide of Eirdkilrs.

Lieutenant Naif turned to Aravon. "We've got to break fr—!"

An Eirdkilr spear cut off his words. The two-foot blade punched through the back of his head, the tip driving out his neck, spraying blood over Aravon. Spine severed, Naif sagged like a dropped sack of rocks, his body clattering on the stony Eastmarch.

"No!" Horror and fury surged within Aravon, a fire that burned in his belly and drove him to fight.

He lashed out at the spear-wielding barbarian, his short sword shearing through the man's wrist. The Eirdkilr stared stupidly at the blood gushing from the stump of his right arm. A vicious slash of Aravon’s heavy blade opened his throat.

Every movement sent pain flaring up and down his shattered arm, but he couldn't let his men fight and die alone. Gritting his teeth, he sought his next opponent. He would kill until the Eirdkilrs laid him low. He’d fight until his last breath, give every drop of blood to protect his men.

Yet the state of Sixth Company filled him with alarm. The Eirdkilrs had broken their ranks. All around him, Legionnaires fought the massive barbarians in squads of threes and fours, back to back. Their faces bore the expressions of true fighting men: grim snarls, rictus grins of desperate terror, or the coldness that came with recognizing impending doom. They absorbed the battering of the Eirdkilrs' wrath on their heavy shields, returning the punishment with short swords and spears. In vain, they attempted to re-form ranks.

Cold dread settled in Aravon's stomach. His men had no chance, yet their discipline held even in the face of annihilation.

He had to find a way to turn the battle. If he could buy the Legionnaires even a few moments, perhaps enough could escape. A desperate hope, but he had to try.

His eyes locked on a tall, heavy-shouldered Eirdkilr a short distance away. The barbarian's beard was shot through with grey, and yellowed bones hung among the leather-bound braids. Atop his dark blue tunic, the ice bear pelt slung over his shoulders had been dyed a deep crimson. He alone wielded a sword: a massive two-handed weapon that far outweighed any Legion shield.

That has to be their leader.

Aravon slipped between the knots of fighting men. He ducked a savage swipe of an axe and hamstrung the towering man, finishing him with a thrust to the throat. A club struck the ground a finger's breadth from him as he darted around an Eirdkilr. The Legionnaire next to him put a spear into the back of the barbarian's skull.

Something slammed into Aravon, spinning him around. An arrow protruded from his right shoulder, and numbness coursed down his sword arm. Righting himself, he forced his feet to keep moving toward the leader.

The huge barbarian held a bow easily six feet tall, made of wood as black as his vest. He had the string drawn back to his ear, an arrow nocked, the steel tip gleaming in the sunlight. The archer’s eyes locked on Captain Aravon—the arrow came for him. A smirk twisted the Eirdkilr's lips a moment before he released the string.
Aravon tried to throw himself out of the way. Too slow. The arrow caught him in the left side, punching through chain mail, only stopping when it struck his backplate. Pain raced through his torso—the broad head had to have cracked a rib.

He caught himself and stumbled onward. His left arm hung useless by his side and every movement sent agony flaring through his ribs, but he'd somehow managed to retain his grip on his blade. He forced himself to raise his sword, though his right arm responded languidly.

With mocking slowness, the Eirdkilr drew another arrow from his quiver and set it to his bow. Ice seeped into Aravon's spine. He couldn't tear his eyes from the wicked steel point aimed at him. Every muscle in his body tensed in expectation of the impending agony, yet he poured strength into his legs to cover the distance before—

The string twanged. A dark streak hurtled toward him and punched through his right thigh. The impact tore his legs from beneath him. He screamed as he landed on his shattered left arm.

He tried to struggle upright, but an immense bulk collapsed atop him. His head rang. Blood filled his mouth, his nose, his eyes. His arms refused to cooperate, refused to heed his commands to get up. He had to get up. Had to stand and fight beside his men.

A tingling numbness spread through his limbs. Shadows hovered on the edge of his vision. The pounding of his heart sounded like a torrent in his ears.

Have…to fight!

His struggles weakened, exhaustion claiming him, his determination drowned beneath the pain. Like a man sucked beneath quicksand, Aravon succumbed to agony and blood loss.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazing packaging, and personalized gifts! I can’t wait to read and review! Taking pictures now for a post, thank you so much!🤘🏼🤘🏼