A prophecy declares a small child will decide the victory between two countries paralyzed by war…
An old man sells magical patches on the ruined streets of Hagra-Dis when a small, one-armed girl begs him to fix her doll. An Imperial missile blast kills the little girl, Meesha, but Var patches her back to life, and they flee marauding storm troopers.
Imperial High Command unleashes Ulan, a formidable assassin and mystic who chases the Patch Man and his ragged band of followers through a labyrinth peopled with powerful beings and monsters. Both the pursued and pursuers find themselves in life or death situations when they encounter the Greeter, a mysterious being who controls the entrance to parallel worlds populating the labyrinth. It is in these domains they discover clues to end the war—with little Meesha as the secret key to ultimate victory and peace.
What people are saying about Patch Man:
“After finishing the most current book in this series, I realized I should have written this review long ago, but here it is now. Patch Man almost defies categorization, it’s a rich mashup of fantasy, science fiction, fairy tale, war story, and quest. It’s chock full of fascinating characters each of which seems to have their own special talents. Var, the Patch Man, can use patches of his and his wife, Zefa’s fabrication for all sorts of things. They can open portals in solid rock, the close open doors, they can heal the sick and wounded, and much more. The one-armed girl, Meesha, they adopt in the middle of a battle for the subjection of their country Summia, by a neighboring and apparently natural enemy, Imperiana, has very powerful talents, only barely comprehended as the story begins. These three meet and gather others, Ka, a winged humanoid, Ten, a teenaged boy who captivates Meesha.
The brutal warfare between the countries forces them into a Quest to find the Source who can end the war, and the path is through an underground Labyrinth. where the fun really begins. There are rings of power, dragons, dwarves, grizzles, galgahans, avatars, and magic of every sort. In the Labyrinth are entryways to myriad domains, alternate universes controlled by Greeters These dimensional worlds comprise the Labyrinth Game Quest, which requires each player to solve an independent quest in that domain or face death. Add in Ulan, an assassin from Imperiana, and Ulan, a Lore Mistress, and many varied characters along the way, and you have a rich panoply of individuals striving for ascendency in the author’s world.
Fare for lovers of action and adventure in speculative worlds.” –Larry J. Dunlap (Amazon Reviewer)
“If you enjoy fantasy action genre, then this book is for you. We have magic, adventure and near death experiences mixed with the author’s subtle sense of humor. Within the first chapters, magic is revealed, a one armed child (who may be destined to save the world) is rescued and a flying winged hybrid warrior join forces with a husband and wife. This team is driven from their home into a vast wilderness and soon forced into underground tunnels. In these caverns, many adventures and quests must be faced. Both female and male characters are fully developed and empowered. Toward the end of this read, you will discover how a hundred years of conflict was caused by a culinary concern. I’m sure that all will enjoy this fast paced and well developed story.” —Stephen Hamilton (Amazon Reviewer)
Five out of five stars:
Complex story and characters that had me sitting with anticipation on the edge of my seat from start to finish. It’s not often that I find a new author who captures my attention the way Rick Stepp-Bolling did with his Patch Man. He is now on my list of favorite authors and one to watch out for.
You won’t find perfect characters in a perfect world in this story. Meesha, the one-armed girl, is part of a prophecy involving two warring countries, and Var, the old man known as the Patch Man, is destined to help her. They are surrounded by a cast of intensely flawed but likeable characters. We get to watch them grow and step up to the many challenges facing them on a day to day basis.
The story drew me in right from the start when Meesha is almost killed and the Patch Man saves her, taking her back to his home. He has no idea where this will eventually lead or the part he must play in it. This scene and all those that follow are brought to life with vivid detail in setting and non-stop action. We have hybrid creatures, magic, and a strange labyrinth to maneuver through as individual quests are faced. To fail means to die.
I struggled to find areas to be critical of here. There are many characters to keep track of but each one is written in such a way that they become real right from the start. It was easy to move between one scene and the next, the story masterfully woven together for an exciting end. Though this is an obvious series, the story does not leave you hanging in an irritating way. We know more is to come but we’re left anticipating the next installment instead of being frustrated. Can’t wait to read more!
Rick Stepp-Bolling, a retired professor of writing from Mt San Antonio College, now resides in Ramona, California, with his wife, Francie, and their collection of rescued animals. He has published four books with a fifth on the way: SMOKE AND MIRRORS (a book of poetry), AUTOCIDE (a collection of short stories), ICARIAN, and his first novel in a fantasy/science fiction series, PATCH MAN, published by Crimson Cloak Publishers. He can be contacted at his website rickstepp-bolling.com.
Also by Rick:
Autocide: Tales From The Unknown Fork In The Road
Smoke and Mirrors
SMOKE AND MIRRORS by Nuvein Press 2009
AUTOCIDE by Claremont Village Press 2014
BEGGARS CROSSING by Coffee House Writers Group 2013
DARKNESS BREWING by Coffee House Writers Group 2015
Urban Ocean Festival (Sponsored by Aquarium of the Pacific) First Place: 2011, 2012.
Whittier Poetry Contest: First Place, 2011
Published by Dirty Dog Press
Statement Magazine (published by CSULA)
Rostrum (published by CCC Academic Senate)
Nuvein on-line magazine
A variety of other small press magazines
“Fire and Ice”
Nuvein on-line magazine