The Jade Crown, Book I: The Hidden City by Mark J. Donovan
A doomed expedition discovers an ancient secret in the mountains.
Against his better judgment, Garruth – a mercenary – joins a voyage of discovery to try and pass through an unconquered mountain range. The explorers believe they will find the remnants of a long-lost civilization on the other side; Garruth would settle for a few answers.
What they find is a secretive people that prefer their privacy, and are willing to kill to protect it. Yet the ancient sword that the mercenary carries seems to be of interest to this people’s beautiful sorceress, and her promise to help him find the answers he seeks ensnares Garruth in a web of political intrigue, betrayal, and espionage.
Now the mercenary will have to try stay alive in this dangerous place long enough to finally discover what happened to him so many years ago, and what role his invaluable sword played in creating him; and maybe – if he’s unusually lucky – even earn a bit of gold along the way.
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Mark J. Donovan was born somewhere; he currently lives somewhere else, and is very likely to die in yet another place.
He very much enjoys doing things, except when he doesn’t. He prefers to do them alone, unless you’d be interested in coming along. If not, I’m sure he understands…but then again, you are blowing him off after his incredibly gracious offer to join him in doing things. Maybe he won’t understand at all, and is silently plotting some twisted, never-ending form of torture as recompense? Like…giving you free tickets to watch his new long-form improv group perform? Yeah, I bet you’re re-thinking that “doing things” offer now, aren’t you?
Back to the point: Mark J. Donovan; who is he? Well, he’s just like you and me (though admittedly a lot more like me). He eats, he sleeps, he evacuates biological waste. He throws away an exorbitant amount of time on video games, basketball, and sleep; but somewhere in-between he occasionally manages to find a bit of time to work on the stories he supposedly “loves writing. But then again, he also said that he “loves” the feeling of new socks in a pair of new shoes. So maybe take that sentiment with a grain of salt.