Thanks to the awesome @crookedaydreamer from Wattpad, Guardians of the Gates, the third and final book in the Quest of the Messenger trilogy, now has a cover - and an amazing cover it is.
Guardians of the Gates is most definitely my favorite book in the entire QotM saga. Its events take place several generations after Paths of the Shadow and Warriors of the Realm, which makes for a broader perspective. Also, it contains more action, more adventure, more travel - finally taking off from the shores of Tilir - and more cultural variety.
However, I believe the real reason for my partiality lies in the character of Claire Swift - the first and only female main protagonist in the trilogy. There are some strong and important women in the first two books as well, but up until now, the main POV had belonged to a male. Claire's appearance is a refreshing change - not that I like her just because she is a girl. Quite simply, I wish I had a friend and companion like her - brave, honest, loyal, resourceful, ready to undertake any project and very forgiving of other people's idiosyncrasies.
"Perhaps,” said Gahrod, “when they – when we are sold, we can prevail on our new owners to return us to Tilir. Our clans would ransom us... and Claire and Ed too, of course.”
"That is a cheerful thought,” said Jonnar. “I fear, however, that not many people in Kanterra, especially these days, would venture upon a journey to Tilir in order to collect whatever ransom they would be willing to give for us.”
"It wouldn't be a small sum,” argued Gahrod. “Your uncle is Head of the Tionae, and mine of the Kamtesir.”
"Even so,” insisted Jonnar.
"Well, if you are so determined to spend the rest of your life in slavery, there is really not much I can do - “
"This is no question of mine being determined. It is about discerning the truth of our circumstances.”
"We must stick together,” Claire interrupted them both. “We must prevail upon this captain to sell us together, and then there will be a higher chance for us to fall into the hands of someone rich and powerful enough to make the journey to Tilir easily. You must swear that the ransom will be very high,” she added, looking from Jonnar to Gahrod.