The Black Crown is the new debut fantasy novel by John A. Douglas. Douglas is a family man living in Louisiana. He’s a huge coffee fan, and a tabletop gamer. He’s been writing for years, honing his craft, and this debut novel displays his fantastic storytelling skill.
The Black Crown is a story about a young half orc prince named Ragoth. Raised in royal quarters, but unable to leave, his existence has been kept secret from his people. He’s spent his life in isolation for reasons unknown. After a vicious attack on his life, he’s forced to embark on a journey across Allspire to claim his birthright.
Ragoth becomes a fish-out-of-water; a misplaced prince who must live as a pauper. Prince Ragoth, with his royal education and naivete, is forced from palace life to a life spent in the streets, on the roads, and in the wilderness. While striving to right the wrong against him, Ragoth finds friends, fights foes, and follows a prophecy, wherever it may lead.
Cortland (Cort) is one of the first people to join Ragoth on his journey. He’s human with a fiery temper, and a drive for adventure and glory. Though he’s a supporting character, his story grabbed my attention. I really like his character arc. His core personality stays the same, but his goals evolve and mature a lot as the story goes on.
Denith is a humble and slight elf who is the picture of faithfulness to his friends. He sees something in Ragoth that earns Denith’s loyalty. Sometimes his loyalty tests the bounds of reason, hinting at hidden motivations.
Then there’s Val’Mora. She’s known as “The Beast of Barrow’s End.” Her years of adventuring experience across Allspire made her shrewd. And her size, species, and skill makes her a formidable physical opponent.
Together they fight many dangers and contend with hostile armies, conduct heists, escape foes, and must untangle themselves from a web of secrecy and lies.
John A. Douglas did a great job with this, it’s a very impressive debut novel. The world building is fantastic and feels huge. Each new city we encounter has it’s own unique feel. And the story is littered with lore and hooks for potential future stories (one in particular I’m very eager to find out if it’ll get a story.) There’s a lot here to enjoy.
This is a good book, and I recommend it. Consider buying it. Douglas does a great job creating a rich world, and captivating characters.