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Cathadeus ~ Review with Giveaway and Excerpt

The Walking Gates #1
By Jeff. J. Peters

It was just an ordinary day until the attack at the Walking Gates with Merchant Tide once again upon them. The Gate Keepers are decimated so that the gate at Oak Haven is useless for the foreseeable future. But the news is worse for Braxton Prinn - his mother has been injured in the attack and to save her he needs to make a perilous journey in just days.

But why the Mins (Minotaurs) have decided to attack now is a question of utmost concern. And equally troubling is will they strike again? And with a journey to Glen Arbor in his immediate future and time against him, these concerns are of great importance to Brax and his dwarfish traveling companion Ruskin.

Hoping to provide some additional protection, Brax's father offers him his late grandfather's sword. A sword of great significance that could potentially alter Brax's future and that of Andorah. The Unicorn Blade hides a powerful secret one that will guide Brax on this journey he never wanted to make but is willing to undertake for love.

What follows is a journey of epic proportions as the fate of Andorah and entire races hang upon the outcome of the coming war - a war that none anticipated. It is a fight for survival and Brax is caught in the center of it as his destination seems to be the focus of the enemy. But Brax newfound abilities, which are linked to the Unicorn Blade, could be as deadly as the approaching enemy unless he can learn to control and temper his emotions.

With subtle nods to the genius of other greats in the world of fantasy Jeff Peters has managed by weaving a spell with words to create a world uniquely his own. And this is a world that fans of MacDonald, Tolkien, Lewis and the like might want to slip into for a visit. This, as one can conclude from the title, is the first in a series. One can only wonder after the final word is read, where this world will next take the reader.

Now for those who love maps, this book has one just after the title page. I know I love maps that help me see the world I'm discovering from the first word. And there is a phonetic pronunciation guide in the back of the book - so grab a post-it tab or bookmark before you start reading you will be making use of this page as you make your way through the book. Teen and adult fantasy fans will enjoy this new world that is relatively clean though a tad bloody due to battles.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the author through iRead Book Tours with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Details:

Book Title: Cathadeus (Book One of the Walking Gates)
Author: Jeff J. Peters
Category: YA Fiction, 344 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Release date: Dec 8, 2017
Tour dates: Jan 15 to Feb 2, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 (fighting scenes)

Book Description:

It has been six hundred years since the Alchemists fused together men and beasts to form strong, mindless slaves. Now, their most vicious creations have attacked the mystical Walking Gates, slaughtering their Keepers and isolating their cities. Wounded in the brutal attack, Braxton Prinn’s mother is on the verge of death and he makes a desperate journey to find the reclusive elven master who can save her. But when he discovers an ancient magic, Brax is caught up in an even greater struggle and soon finds himself hunted for his power. Drawn into the chaos of an impending war and pursued by enemies on all sides, Brax must fight to save his mother and her race from slipping into darkness. Though his untamed magic may be the greatest threat of all . . .

What Readers are Saying about Cathadeus:

“Jeff J. Peters’ strong cinematic writing style allowed me to easily visualize the story and feel that I was right there alongside the characters.”
- Alison W.

“Jeff J. Peters’ writing is so smooth and easy to read – I can’t tell you how much of a pleasure it was…and how quickly you end up being drawn into the story because of it.”
- Amanda R.

“Cathadeus is the best kind of fantasy story - you get to learn along with a flawed main character while you get lost in a richly designed world. You can’t help but keep reading. A cleanly written pairing of characters you wish you could spend more time with and an enthralling world built around them. Cathadeus is the kind of story that plays perfectly off of your imagination, with characters grounded in reality to make it feel like you could really be there.”
- Ryan N.

“Jeff J. Peters definitely has storytelling skills...The story stayed on my mind when I wasn’t reading it. Young readers will be drawn in this imaginative story, while they relate to Braxton’s struggles with temper, insecurity, and young love. Cathadeus is dramatic, with an anxious tone—at times bleak, as the story keeps you wondering until the final battle if good will prevail.”
- Elizabeth C.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

JEFF J. PETERS was born in South Africa and immigrated to the United States as a teenager, where he fell in love with all things fantasy. He obtained degrees in digital electronics and computer science and worked as an IT professional for more than twenty years. In 2014, he left his corporate position to focus full-time on writing. Cathadeus is his debut novel. He is currently working on the sequel.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook

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~ Excerpt ~

Sunlight touched the southern peaks of the Dragon’s Spine as Thrag completed his patrol.
The morning was cold and snow still covered the ground. The exposed parts of the
dwarf’s face were chilled and steam appeared whenever he breathed—but he didn’t care.
He loved being in the mountains, and the sharp biting feeling on his rough skin was
preferable to the heat in the mines.

Wiping the ice crystals from his beard, he lit his pipe and took a long draw before
exhaling. The light crept into the clearing, and he turned to leave but stopped abruptly. A
dozen yards away, barely visible in the snow, a dark shape broke the pristine white.
Thrag covered his pipe and checked about. Convinced he was alone, he retrieved the
small object and rolled it around in his hand, feeling the rough cuts from the crude
instrument that shaped it. Even before he looked down, he knew what it was. A totem.

Moving quickly to the nearby river, he scouted its banks. He picked up a trail and
followed it until he smelled their campfire. Two large, muscular beasts stood behind the
flames and slightly to one side, another lying further back and to the left.


They occasionally entered the Spine to hunt, wearing totems for protection that never
worked, and his kin always defeated them. There hadn’t been any significant intrusion in
almost six hundred years—not since the Breath of the Dragon wiped out their valley.

“So what ya doing in the mountains?” Thrag mumbled to himself, studying their bull-
like faces. They had furs and leather jerkins covering their human bodies, and their
weaponry was too advanced for a hunting party. Sentries, he concluded. But for what?

He needed to find out and report in, and they were too dangerous to be left alone.
Unstrapping his giant battleax from across his back, he loosened the throwing weapon in
his belt. Clenching his jaw, he readied to charge, then stopped. He couldn’t see into the
trees. Normally, he wouldn’t care, but this time he had to be sure. Someone had to report,
and something about this already had his beard on edge.

Turning around, he put his back against the boulder where he hid and called. A long,
peaceful sound echoed among the rocks. He knew the Mins would hear it, even though he
was downwind, but he wasn’t worried—he’d been a ranger for more than sixty years and
could imitate nature’s calls. His sound was strong and true, riding the wind between the
mountain pines and craggy valleys before fading away. He repeated it a few more times,
then waited. As expected, the Mins ignored it. Minutes passed, and he watched the trees.
Then a branch moved. Against the wind. His companion was closer than he’d thought, as

Time to go.

Thrag burst from the rocks, hurling his smaller ax at the Minotaur on the right as he
sprinted across the clearing. The weapon hit the beast square in the forehead, felling him.
The other Min grabbed its weapon and brayed loudly. Thrag leapt up onto a stump
directly opposite the fire, using the smoke to obscure his approach, and launched himself
at the beast. He came through the screen with his battleax held high above his head in
both hands, yelling as he appeared. The creature raised its halberd to block the strike, but
Thrag’s ax smashed into it, splitting the shaft in two. The Min stepped back to steady
itself, but the dwarf wasn’t slowing. He landed in front of it, bringing his weapon around
and striking diagonally across, hitting the Min below the knee and severing its leg. The
creature bellowed a horrific call, falling onto its newly formed stump. The third Min was
up now, a spear in hand and coming to the fight. It pulled its arm back preparing to
skewer the dwarf, but a dark form hit it from behind, sending the creature hurtling past
Thrag. The dwarf ignored it. He thrust the top of his weapon straight up, hitting the
crippled Min under the chin and jolting its head back. Raising his battleax again in both
hands, Thrag struck down with his formidable strength, burying the blade deep into the
Min’s chest, killing it.

He turned to look for the remaining beast. It hung from the massive jaws of a giant,
sleek, charcoal-gray leopard standing eye level beside him.

“About time you helped,” Thrag admonished, looking into his companion’s enormous

The leopard gently lay the dead Min down on the ground without making a sound and
stared back at the dwarf.

Thrag rocked his head from side to side. “Well . . . thanks,” he said.

He cleaned his weapons and searched the camp, uncovering more tracks. Following
them through the trees, he found another trail leading to the old ruins.

Crossing the flattened outer wall at dusk, Thrag hid among the long shadows and
intricately carved broken stone buildings that had been cut from the mountain. He moved
carefully between the fallen rocks, stopping at an open courtyard. Giant columns circled
the perimeter, portions of the ceiling they once supported visible among the snow. Three
heavily armed Mins stood in the center, their backs toward him, facing a man dressed
entirely in black armor. Beyond them, two smaller servants waited, hoods covering their

“. . . finish preparing yourselves. We attack at first light,” he heard the man say over
the Mins’ heavy breathing.

It would take Thrag two days to return with reinforcements. Not enough time, he
thought. He’d have to stop them himself.

He crept closer, then signaled to the leopard, and charged.

Read the full Prologue