Magpie's Ruin

Brian M Cox

Book Cover



    Core Theme














    Fantasy novel where the main character gathers a party together and goes on a quest to find assistance with a rising threat (necromancers and their undead army) which has the capacity to end all life.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal


    Fantasy world.

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Self published through Xlibris.

    Year Published: 2020

    Starting Description

    Kai is returning home. She finds a small group of bandits attacking a lone traveller and goes to his aid. After defeating the bandits she attends to the wounds of the traveller and continues her journey to Raelis. She discovers that the traveller is her nephew on arrival. Crown Prince Morannel.

    Ending Description

    The survivors of the final epic battle with the necromancers return to Raelis. Discovering on the way that magic has become unstable and creatures long lost to the ages are suddenly returning. At Raelis they find the city in ruins and those left in charge deceased. Morannel begins his rule.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available




    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence

    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions,Coming of Age

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Quest,Tragedy,Voyage and Return

    Main Character Details

    Name: Kai

    Age: 40

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Complex,Modest,Decisive,Skillful,Leader,Strong Moral Code,Unapologetic,Selfless,Confident

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Prince Morannel

    Age: 18

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Masculine,Honorable,Strong Moral Code,Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Shadow

    Age: 18

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Sexy,Skillful,Romantic,Engaging

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Alemrae Traemellin

    Age: 500

    Gender: Male

    Role: mentor

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Skillful,Leader,Secretive,Masculine,Complex,Charming,Confident




    A famous warrior and member of the royal family comes home to warn her people that the undead, a terrible menace the world thinks were defeated years ago, are back to destroy the world. She swiftly gathers together a group of humans, magic users, elves, and dwarves to fight alongside her. They must hunt down the necromancer responsible for bringing the dead back to life in order to put an end to it for good. In their final battle, the warrior sacrifices herself to keep her compatriots safe and save the world.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes, the Book Profile accurately reflects the book, though the logline could be more intriguing.

    Draw of Story

    The world is that of a vast fantasy epic, and the writer successfully throws the reader right into the midst of it. Exposition about the different lands, their terrains, and even the customs of their people come out really well within the action writing. Having Kai immediately save a young man from bandits and be presented with the mystery of who he is and why he was attacked, is perfect. It then leads into court intrigue once the prince’s identity is revealed, which is also great.

    Possible Drawbacks

    Kai is unfortunately not a very likable character once she reaches Raelis. She comes back after some twenty years away, claims she doesn’t have designs on the throne, and yet immediately starts bossing everyone around. This almost bullying aspect of her personality works later on in the book, once the audience knows her better, but she seems extremely entitled and borders on frustrating at first. Toning down some of this would help a great deal, so she reads less as a know it all. She is exceptionally smart and skilled, and she does know what she’s talking about, but we don’t know that yet. Her introduction would perhaps work better if she didn’t know she was royalty somehow, or if she wasn’t at all. That way she would seem less pompous while giving orders.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    There’s something classic about a group of adventurers setting out on a quest, and it’s always fun to follow along with that. It’s easy to envision a trailer showcasing the epic journey, and that’s a surefire hook to get an audience to watch it. The ensemble cast is also perfect because everyone will have one character they relate to the most, which is a great way to get people devoted to the film.

    Fanbase Potential

    Absolutely, this could have a large fanbase. Epic high fantasy tends to garner devoted fanbases, too.

    Awards Potential

    Due to the genre, an adaptation is unlikely to have traditional awards potential. It could succeed in visual effects or sound categories, potentially.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    Kai being a woman and the leader of this gang of adventurers is original, as well as her taking charge in general. This can be unfortunately rare to see in the high fantasy genre. An adaptation could build on this and swap the genders of some of the other characters so there are more female characters, which would truly set it apart. The desert landscape, where Shadow’s people live, is also rare for a fantasy piece. Whereas dwarves in caves and elves in forests is typical fare, showcasing the desert, and how treacherous it is, is great.

    Lead Characters

    Kai is a strong character that is almost wholly defined by her devotion to the quest and her warrior spirit. It’s rare to see this in a female lead, so it’s surprising and fresh. She also has the capacity to care about her friends and family, as well as her dead lover. She doesn’t let her pregnancy get in the way of anything she wants to accomplish, and she knows to prize saving the world above all else.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Though there are unique aspects to the book, it’s not a rare gem overall. Including more female characters — up to even having all of the adventures be women — would be a great way to make it stand out as a rare gem. Virtually nothing would have to change about their backstories or personalities, either. This also allows the Sisters of Mercy to be more firmly tied into the quest, too. It would be nice to see more of a matriarchal world being defended. It’s awesome to see Kai in her leadership role, and seeing more female characters in a similar place would make this more unique.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Streaming TV Series: Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation



    The book starts off on an exciting note, and immediately segues into political intrigue. Unfortunately this momentum is quickly lost as there’s a lot of sitting around and waiting, or preparation for fights or the upcoming adventure. The story meanders a bit, and it doesn’t feel like they’re on a set path plot-wise. Kai’s pregnancy is a big element up until she gives birth, but it ultimately impacts very little, and her death feels emotionally unsatisfying.

    Tips for Improvement

    The quest aspect doesn’t feel complete enough in its current form. It feels like they’re almost wandering around at times, waiting for a sign or circumstance to interfere. Accelerating the story will help this immensely, and it makes sense since most of their party is assembled pretty quickly. Currently they don’t leave Raelis until some 100 pages in, out of only 326. Pushing this forward and giving them a clearer trajectory of what’s to happen next (even if that’s thwarted along the way, and it should be), will hook the audience in more quickly. There’s a good deal that can be trimmed, as there are many passages of asking for food or about the food being served, or rooms being prepared and the like. These are realistic, but they’re usually glossed over as they’re necessary to the story or characters. Kai’s backstory that she shares with Alemrae is long and slows the pace very early in the story. Though it’s all interesting, it doesn’t all need to be included and could very well be its on prequel. There’s also repetition in the action, such as being told twice what protection the briar rose pin that Shadow has made for Kai offers. It would work just as well to only have this information come out when Shadow gifts it to her. The way Shadow is spoken of reads uncomfortably xenophobic. She’s of the desert tribes, which most seem not to know much about. She needs “enlightenment” (30), and she’s talked about in a way that implies she’s less civilized than everyone else. Shadow also just accepts this, when it’s within earshot. She’s more powerful than any of them, and it would be nice if she either bristled at these sorts of comments, or if they didn’t happen in the first place. Her native desert ways could be handled with more sensitivity. No one telling Kai she’s pregnant, and then stealing her weapons so she’s forced to not fight, reads as strangely sexist. It doesn’t seem like it’s supposed to come across that way, but it would be stronger if Kai herself admitted that she’s too weakened to fight back, or if she wanted to protect her unborn child.


    A top warrior and member of the royal family returns home after years away, bringing word that the undead are rising again. She assembles a team to go in search of the forgotten races of elves and dwarves to help humans stop the undead. Together, they adventure across the world to defeat an ancient evil and save the world.

    What We Liked

    The journey that Kai undertakes is one of self-sacrifice, and it’s her singular focus. She strives to keep her eye on saving the world no matter what, though she’s still sure to keep those she cares about safe. She’s determined and headstrong, and she’s the kind of hero anyone would want to follow throughout a film or television series. Her quest is rounded out by fellow adventurers, who all have their own unique personalities that will draw you into the world even further. Just as the words themselves come to life, leaping off the page, so will this story in any adaptation.

    Film: This book is so well-suited to a film or even a series of films, and there’s a reason high fantasy media is often so successful and popular. It’s so easy for this genre to find an audience, and especially one that’s devoted. The adventure storyline is exciting as well as compelling, and the high stakes make for a memorable plot that will have audiences revisiting the film again and again. The enduring legacy of fantasy films will be continued with this adaptation. The world the characters exist in would also be beautiful onscreen, and even could work for animation like other recent adventure successes, without ever feeling too childish.

    TV: The world in the book is vast and cinematic, and it’s so easy to see it translated to the small screen. There are plenty of characters to flesh out over multiple seasons, and they can all have their own distinct subplots to be explored within the larger quest. The plot of the book is enough of an adventure to be stretched out over several seasons, but there’s also no reason that the story of the book couldn’t occupy only the first season. That way future seasons carry on with Kai’s friends and family on new adventures.

    Key points:
    1. Female protagonist
    2. Older protagonist
    3. Adventure elements
    4. Exciting battles
    5. Varied and lush landscapes


    KAI is a half-breed, a human whose ancestry is mixed with that of non-human races. Because of this, she has preternatural senses and ages very slowly. At 40, she looks a mere 18, and she’s returned to Raelis as an accomplished warrior after 20 years away. Kai returns home to warn her family that the undead defeated 150 years ago have returned. She needs to try to find the lost races, as they can only defeat the undead if everyone works together. On the way, she discovers PRINCE MORANNEL being attacked by BANDITS. She does not know he’s her nephew until after she saves him, and he tells her he was tricked by his cousin, FREDERICK. Kai accuses Frederick of treason and attempted murder of the prince. Off Morannel’s plea for mercy, Kai offers to duel Frederick. Kai wins the duel, meaning that Frederick has to serve her.

    Setting out on her quest in addition to Frederick is Morannel, ALEMRAE, a half-elven mage, and SHADOW, a young mage of the desert tribe. CAPTAIN GREGORSON of the royal guard and LAKIRA, a hunter who will be their guide, join their party. Before her duel, Kai dreams of a winged GIRL who has the eyes of her onetime lover, BRELLDAN. On their journey they meet BRADUR and his fellow DWARVES. Kai explains her plan, and he joins their quest. Lakira dies trying to survive after escaping a fight with the undead. Shadow and Alemrae can sense that Kai is pregnant with the late Brelldan’s child. Instead they try to look out for her as much as possible. When she realizes, they take with them MARIA, a healer to attend to Kai and the rest of their party. In her dream of her unborn daughter, Kai saw what she believes to be the elven lands, and they’ll have to sail across the ocean to get there.

    Once they land and trek through the jungle in an attempt to find the elves, Maria is taken by magically corrupted vines. They find the elves, and Kai gives birth to her daughter, BELL, in their care. The toll for the elves’ assistance is that Bell must stay with them, and Kai agrees. The elves have a prophecy that Kai will end one world to start another anew, and Kai realizes that the new age begins with Bell, and the old age ends with Kai defeating whomever is causing the dead to rise. Kai, Shadow, Morannel, Alemrae, Frederick, and Bradur set off to find Maria. Frederick risks his life to save Morannel from evil magic worms that attack them, and Kai grants Frederick his freedom, though he stays to fight. They find Maria, dead and in the control of a NECROMANCER. They defeat him, but Shadow is attacked. A dark mage, SCRAETHIUS, affected the land before his death. His spirit attempts to possess Shadow, but she is powerful enough in her own right that they come to a compromise where instead she gets his power and knowledge in return for helping him.

    Scraethius accidentally created the undead in his thirst for knowledge, and he now needs them all destroyed so he can finally be at rest. His ability to raise the dead was stolen by another necromancer, who then passed it onto others. They realize they’re dealing with a cult. They return to Raelis and stay for a month, planning their next moves. Meanwhile both the human and dwarf kingdoms are on edge, waiting for the next attack from the undead, though the elves are now helping as well. They head to Shadow’s homeland, the desert, and the GUIDE they secure is nearly killed. Shadow, Alemrae, and Rad manage to save him, but he can feel a pull of ANOTHER MAGE. They use this to track the mage, and Gregorson beheads him. They continue to track the necromancers, closing in on DELKAR, an evil mage and Alemrae’s father, whom he’s been trying to stop for hundreds of years. Delkar originally delved into necromancy to bring back Alemrae’s mother, but now he’s turned truly evil. With the help of her friends, Kai is able to destroy Delkar, ending the scourge of the undead and sacrificing herself to save the world.

    About The Author

    Brian Cox was born in Mount Isa in Queensland, Australia. His family line, however, traces back (indirectly) to William Marshall, first earl of Pembroke, who is described as “the greatest knight who ever lived.” Perhaps it is genetic, then, that he has a great interest in medieval culture and costuming and a particular zeal for armor and weaponry. He also plays auction bridge, enjoys photography, and has an extensive knowledge of horticulture. He describes himself as “a figment of my own imagination.” Magpies’ Ruin is his first book.