Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I’m reviewing Sword of Betrayal and Sword of Judgement, book three and four in the Crimson Realm Chronicles by fellow eXasty Books authors Gabriella Bradley and Taryn Jameson.



Sword of BetrayalTitle:  Sword of Betrayal
Series:  Crimson Realm Chronicles, #3
Authors:  Taryn Jameson and Gabriella Bradley
Genres:  Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance, Adult

The blade of betrayal cuts deep.

Blurb:  When Erica is granted a commission in the king’s army and gifted a magical sword for her bravery, she begins to look forward to a future for both herself and her crew. But not everyone is happy with their circumstances.

Erica joins Brenn’s team in the fight to save his planet from the angry god, Zohmes, and she finds herself charmed by more than just the planet. The sexy lion shifter, Laro, claims she is his lifemate, setting her passions ablaze. Stung by the sharp tongues and dissension of some of her crew, Erica pushes him away to focus on the lives of her crew members.Can Erica accept a future with Laro, or will she let hate and betrayal decide her fate?


“Ground shift. Come on! We need to move!” Aldis yelled.

Erica snagged the strap of her pack as Laro pulled her to her feet. They took off running with the others in the general direction of the road they were seeking. Puffs of dirt shot up around them and dust filled the air, obscuring Erica’s vision.

A loud crack echoed through the veld. Long, spindly legs peeked through a wide breach in the ground in front of them. Claws snapped as eight huge creatures pulled themselves from the gorge. Huge mandibles were set on a small head with twelve eyes. Their long, segmented bodies sported two massive claws, eight legs, and a long tail with a pointed stinger.

“What in the hell are these things?” Erica screamed.

“Durogons! They are Zohmes’ pets. He had to have sent them from Yanata. They were banished with him,” Ciara said.

Erica looked around. A gaping maw right behind them seemed to meet the crack at both ends. They were trapped, with nowhere to run. All hell broke loose. Fire spewed from the durogons’ mouths as they advanced on them in a full attack. Icaras threw his hands up and shielded them from the fire with a magical shield. Ciara and Icaras began throwing balls of fire at them, trying to hold the durogons back but of no avail. The durogons’ hard bodies seemed impregnable, the fireballs sizzling out before causing any damage to their black, armored shells. Shots from Aldis’ fleet weapon met the same fate. Brenn, Ivran and Laro drew their swords, ready to attack.

One of the durogons broke through Icaras’ shield and lunged at Erica. She yanked her sword from the scabbard with both hands and nearly dropped it. Laro moved quickly in front of her to shield her and slashed off one of its claws. All it did was piss the creature off. Its tail whipped around and gashed him in the side before Laro could dodge it and slice off the other claw. Erica had never seen Laro wield a sword and was stunned by the beautiful display. He fought the durogon in a deadly dance of precision, each strike of his sword hitting its mark.

A movement caught her attention. Another durogon found an opening and rushed in to attack. Erica pulled out her fleet weapon and started shooting it in the eyes, hoping to keep it from advancing further. Its claws snapped at her, and its tail swished around, trying to find purchase. Suddenly, all she could feel was intense heat, and the scent of charred bodies filled the air. A wall of flame rushed up in front of her, consuming the creature she was trying to kill. Ciara had shifted and set the creatures ablaze.

The rumbling stopped, the ground no longer moved, and the maws slowly closed, burying the creatures.



First, I understand why it’s called Sword of Betrayal.  The plot and twists in the third book of the Crimson Realm Chronicles are AWESOME.  Not only is the plotting wonderfully executed, so is the romance between Erica and Laro.

As mentioned in the first two novels, you can read my reviews here and here, Captain Erica is adjusting to her new life and new planet after fleeing Earth with her crew, so much that she has joined Brenn in his battle to bring peace to his planet.

She’s a strong heroine, who adapts well to each new situation she finds herself in, and shows bravery by conquering any fears she has.  I think she’s a heroine readers will connect with, and adore.

Laro is a wonderful beta hero.  He’s not in charge or strong and powerful like Brenn, who starred in the last two novels.  Laro is quietly strong, caring, loyal, and kind.  But he’s never overshadowed by Erica, who’s a feisty, take-charge gal.

Their differences complement each other, which makes for a great relationship.

In order to restore peace to the planet, again Erica joins with Brenn and his team to put a stop to the evil Zohmes ( I can hardly wait to meet this guy, and my fingers are crossed Cerwick makes a return, too).  Many truths are unearthed that are surprising.  The authors keep you guessing up until the end that ends with a big cliff-hanger.

The setting is once again something that captures medieval times.  You feel as if you’re in a world of the future, but also deep in the past, with fantasy and science fiction thrown in.  It’s a wonderful world created by the authors.

As I mentioned, many new truths come to life, which keeps the “series” fresh and new.

Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy for yourself at eXtasy Books.



Sword of JudgementTitle:  Sword of Judgement
Series:  Crimson Realm Chronicles, #4
Authors:  Taryn Jameson and Gabriella Bradley
Genres:  Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance, Adult

The blade of justice is a double-edged sword.

Blurb:  Betrayed by several members of her crew, Erica now finds herself in a race to beat the clock. A rare poison injected into the king’s blood from the blade of her sword, threatens his life.

Erica joins her lifemate, Laro, and the rest of the team, on a mission rife with danger to search for the antidote to save the king. With an angry god bent on destroying the royal line by any means possible, the team doesn’t know who to trust or what Zohmes will do next.

Can Erica find a way to prove the innocence of her crewmembers before the blade of judgement falls?


Erica handed the king the datapad. “A shaft of lightning struck me from a clear sky and etched it onto my back, Your Majesty.”

Biryn scrutinized the map closely. “Erica, may I see your back? We can go to the privacy of my bedroom.”

Erica suppressed a giggle. How often in life did a king request to see one’s back in the privacy of his bedroom? “Everyone here has ogled my back, Your Majesty,” she said as she pulled up the tunic and stood before him.

“I am sorry our gods subjected you to this, Erica. Did it hurt badly?”

“No, Your Majesty. I was spooked and was flung to the ground, but all I felt was a little bit of stinging on my skin, like a sunburn.”

“Ciara, can I speak to you in private?” the king said.

The king walked to his bedroom, followed by Ciara. The door closed behind them. Suddenly, all startled as the king’s loud voice sounded through the closed door.

“Who are you, wench? Go back to Yanata from where you came! Do you hear me? What are those creatures doing in my room? Get away from me!”

The door opened, and the king ran out, a wild expression on his face. He looked at them all without recognition. Cylena reached out and touched the king’s arm. Suddenly, he became completely lucid again.

Ciara walked to Cylena. “My dear, it seems the king is only lucid when you are close and touching him. I now understand the goddess Rania wanting you in his presence. For some unknown reason, you radiate a power that will keep him calm. Stay near him at all times, please? Icaras will stay with you if it is too much for you.”

“Cylena?” Icaras queried.

“I sense my powers increasing. I feel you are needed to find the antidote for the poison, Icaras. I will stay with the king. You need not trouble your mind with worry about me.”

“We need to wait until we get the test results,” Erica said.

She’d barely finished speaking when Catrice, followed by Jason, entered into the king’s quarters. Catrice bowed before the king. “Your Majesty.”

“You are Catrice. I remember you,” Biryn said.

“Yes, Your Majesty. We have isolated the poison in your system.”

“And what is it, young lady?”

“After comparing it with the poisons in your database, it’s a poison called veervaraine. The toxin will cause confusion and delirium, eventually leading to total madness.”

“Your Majesty. If I may interrupt. I did some research on the veervaraine toxin,” Jason said as he set his datapad in front of the king.

Erica could see the datapad from where she stood. It showed a picture of a giant mushroom on the screen. There were many mushrooms on Earth that were poisonous. There were even farmers that had become ill from breathing in spores from edible mushrooms.


Sword of Judgement is aptly named, but I won’t say why.  This novel picks up where Sword of Betrayal left off, so each book in the series must be read in order.  This story follows Erica and Laro again.  They are a wonderful couple with great chemistry.

As like in the previous novels, new places and new characters are introduced.  If not for the series plot, Eric and Laro’s romance could be read as a standalone, but the book does end on a cliff-hanger.  Never fear, there is a HEA, but I won’t say what it is.

Even when each book picks up where the last left off, the stories are always fresh.  And the world feels fresh since each adventure is something new for the characters in the series.

There’s even a sub-plot romance brewing that readers will enjoy.  I know I did.  But this doesn’t detract from Erica and Laro’s story.

Each adventure undertaken is like peeling the layers of an onion as the characters dig deeper to put a stop to the evil happening on their planet.  This fills each book with suspense of “what will happen next?”

Because each book is only about 160K, they can be read in four nights while taking your time.

Give Erica and Laro’s story a try.  They share a wonderful romance that’s much different from Ciara and Brenn’s.  You can purchase a copy of Sword of Judgement at eXtasy Books


Have you read any of the books in the Crimson Realm Chronicles?  If so, do you agree with my review?  If you haven’t read any books in the series, are you willing to now?

eXtasy Books

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