The Last Keeper

J.V. Hilliard

Book Cover



    Core Theme














    A young seer, Daemus Alaric, is blessed and cursed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a Keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad. Their struggle brings the realm of Warminster to the brink of chaos.

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Universal


    the realm of Warminster

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: Dragon Moon Press

    Year Published: 2021

    Starting Description

    Blind since birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of Sight by a visiting stranger. When his prophetic visions come to pass, he leaves his noble home to join the fabled Keepers of the Forbidden, wielders of vast arcane knowledge who serve leaders throughout the realm of Warminster.

    Ending Description

    Daemus’ ideal life is short-lived as a recurring nightmare takes hold, threatening to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers hanging in the balance. In his fight to save the realm, Daemus & his allies set out to stop the fallen Keeper & his plans for revenge.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available



    Paperback ISBN 978-1-77400-041-0; Electronic ISBN 978-1-77400-042-7

    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence

    Plot - Other Elements

    Coming of Age,Meaningful Message,Twist,Philosophical Questions

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Quest,Voyage and Return,Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: Daemus Alaric

    Age: 17

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Modest,Clumsy,Complex,Selfless,Faithful,Heroic,Honorable,Educated,Insecure,Naive,Underdog

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Sir Ritter of Valkeneer

    Age: 25

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Modest,Complex,Patriotic,Decisive,Selfless,Empathetic,Faithful,Skillful,Gracious,Romantic,Secretive,Heroic,Educated,Insecure,Leader

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Princess Addilyn Elspeth

    Age: 57 (in elven years) but approximately 25 in human years

    Gender: Female

    Role: protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Obedient,Complex,Decisive,Empathetic,Selfless,Engaging,Faithful,Skillful,Gracious,Visionary,Romantic,Heroic,Sophisticated,Honorable,Insecure

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Graytorris the Mad

    Age: 50's

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Religious,Skillful,Visionary,Educated,Badass,Aggressive,Villainous,Complex,Confident,Crazy,Decisive,Blunt,Desperate,Power Hungry,Outspoken,Secretive,Leader,Manipulative,Unapologetic




    A fantasy epic following a number of different parties as they fend off rogue adversaries, encounter fantastic creatures, and brace for the imminent emergence of a shadowy and formidable foe— Gifted with prophetic sight, Daemus Alaric must outrace pursuant enemies en route to a fortified kingdom, while troll-human hybrid ranger Ritter Valkeneer must must brave bandit warriors and later survive a treacherous sea voyage with elvish princess Addilyn Elspeth. Ultimately, the two groups come together to corroborate the looming rise of a dark lord and the certain conflict to come.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    What drew me into the story immediately was how fervently the author relies on in media res storytelling. This is a challenging read— The author asks a lot of the audience in keeping track of the countless people, places, and concepts— And arguably to a fault. In essence, the author dares you to keep up and is not afraid to leave you behind. In fact, many chapters leapfrog to a different setting, cast, and context altogether. It serves the story well, though, at least in that it imbues it with a breakneck pace. Most simply put, what draws you into the story is that it demands your full attention and effort and nothing less— If you don’t invest everything, you will be left behind.

    Possible Drawbacks

    While the very fast pace and the smart applications of in media res storytelling devices throughout certainly have their virtues, there is an argument to be made that how demanding the writing style is—and how much the author asks of the audience in keeping up—will prove alienating to a wider audience. The pace and intent are respectable, but there is a sense that the author is just asking too much in terms of names, places, and concepts— Looking back, it feels like upwards of 150 characters or more are introduced, while their introductions are sparse and fleeting, and while sometimes upwards of a dozen are mentioned in the span of mere pages. All in all, the work required to keep up should not outweigh the pleasure from the entertainment. Right now, this imbalance can tempt one to want to put the book down.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook is that this book features a number of inventive creatures and that it introduces a handful of novel concepts in what can feel like a tired, worn-thin genre space. While it certainly does borrow a lion’s share from Tolkien, using the iconic author’s works as a sort of template as is common to do in this space, the original creature designs and thrills paired with a fair share of spectacle in the form of a climactic sea battle break enough new ground to make the investment well worth it.

    Fanbase Potential

    It is certainly possible— With Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. The fanbase of these kinds of works and this kind of genre space has proven its loyalty and enthusiasm time and time again. This is certainly a key appeal in considering this work for adaptation, especially given the steadily growing demand for fantasy epics among the streamers.

    Awards Potential

    Given Lord of the Rings’ massive awards season successes, not to mention those of Game of Thrones in the TV world, who’s to say that this work couldn’t one day earn the same praise? However, we are a long ways away from this conversation, and it would depend largely on its execution and, frankly, its network.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    There are a couple of things that stand out as original in this story. For one, consider the creatures— from the horse hounds to the Antlered Man, among others, the author has a keen eye for interesting, appealing, and novel creature design. It’s not just your run of the mill dragons and elves. The author goes the extra mile. What also stands out as interesting is the intermixing between the different types of beings— Notably, a key character element has to do with Ritter being “trollborn,” which creates an interesting and complex dynamic, while other works might feel rigid and simplistic. Finally, the sea battle in the final 100-or-so pages strikes as particularly rousing— It’s something that is often left unexplored and un-utilized in works of this ilk, and here it feels exciting and fresh.

    Lead Characters

    As noted, what stands out about Ritter is the welcome nuance of his being trollborn— It creates an interesting and complex dynamic that underscores his character throughout and complicates his relationship with Addilyn in an additive and dramatic fashion. What stands out about Daemus, though, is his inexperience. It feels high stakes and honest that he has physical shortcomings, and it is a joy to watch him progress and ultimately avenge his uncle by taking down a fearsome enemy. This arc of his will be fun to follow as the story continues beyond this first entry.

    Uniqueness of Story

    The fact that this work uses Tolkien’s art as a template to the extent that it does would seemingly disqualify this work from a “rare gem” designation. This is stated with the full understanding of the genre’s traditions and archetypes that are in some ways essential. However, what is virtuous and productive about this work is the number of additions it makes and the amount of new ground it breaks, as noted, in the form of its creatures, clan complexity, and its sea battle. These elements alone warrant lending this book another look.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Streaming TV Series: Network, Limited Run / Mini-Series, Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation



    This is a work in progress in that it is exceedingly difficult to follow— While the fast pace and in media res devices being implemented regularly are clearly a deliberate choice on account of the author, there is a nagging feeling that he may have gone too far. With the sheer number of people in this work and the sometimes sparse descriptions and in-worldlingo, the author cements this work as rather esoteric and risks alienation a large portion of his audience. For example, while this reader kept up okay, it would be difficult to imagine a high school level reader comprehending as much as would be ideal. At least in terms of its adaptation potential, it would behoove the author to ensure this work is at its most efficient and palatable state of Being.

    Tips for Improvement

    Simply put, another pass to ensure utmost palatability and efficiency would serve this work quite well. As it stands, there seem to be a number of extraneous details, people, and plot points that could be cut, condensed, or, ideally, simplified. Especially in terms of considering a work for adaptation clarity and efficiency are paramount.


    A fantasy epic following a gifted prophet, a steadfast, troll-human hybrid ranger, and a dignified elvish princess as they fend off rogue adversaries, encounter fantastic creatures, and brace for the imminent emergence of a shadowy and formidable foe.

    What We Liked

    What stand out as strengths in this work are its fantastic creature concepts and thrills, its flawed, complex heroes, and its inventive and novel action set-pieces. The author is deliberate in his effort to go the extra mile with the creatures— Mixing and mashing and presenting designs that feel fresh, interesting, and exciting. Moreover, how compelling this work is is bolstered by the complexity of its leads— Daemus is very much a work-in-progress, with his weaknesses, and Ritter is nuanced given his lineage and its implications. Finally, the action in this work stands out as brutal, visceral, and occasionally unforgettable. The author carves out much value with the final sea battle, which seems to break new ground, too.

    Film: This would be an ideal candidate for adaptation to the big screen first and foremost for its impact— The action in this work is as hard-hitting as it is consequential as it is memorable. The audience would be in for a treat to hear this work’s weapons clash, its creatures bellow, and its magic glow. The sheer amount of spectacle in this work almost demands it. Moreover, adaptation to the big screen would like call for the budget range that would yield highest fidelity execution of this work’s creature thrills and production design demands. All in all, it has the makings of a feast of the senses if executed right.

    TV: This work is a solid candidate for adaptation to the small screen in that it is only just getting
    started— The first book in the series is very much a crash course introduction into the vast world of Warminster, only scratching the surface of the brewing conflict to come and of the countless people and corners of its world. It’s remarkable, frankly, just how much the author tries to cram into his text— It is almost bursting at the seams with how much world-building and story content is packed into this text. All things considered, the small screen could be the perfect vehicle to tell this story, with the longer format allowing for more real estate for exploring its world and chronicling its characters. This work brings to mind Game of Thrones with its potential for epic, seasons-long conflicts, character arcs, and action.

    Key points:
    1. The creature thrills and designs— Memorable and original.
    2. The bravura sea battle— Felt fresh and distinct for the genre.
    3. The flawed, dependent, work-in-progress lead in Daemus.
    4. The complex, weighty, and dramatic figure in Ritter.
    5. The hard-hitting, pulse-pounding, and most importantly, consequential action.


    We open on a wraith-like, blinded man, GRAYTORRIS, as he conjures a fearsome, antlered beast out of the husk of a dying human. Meanwhile, DAEMUS ALARIC, a young man gifted with prophetic foresight, has terrible nightmares of encountering a hooded, blinded man. Elsewhere, steadfast, part-human, part-troll ranger RITTER VALKENEER leads his troop on patrol— There have been increased attacks from rogue, marauding forces outside the kingdom of Castleshire.
    In the open lands, Vermilion elf princess ADDILYN ELSPETH has a harrowing encounter with a pack of mythic, black, horned horses, called tetrine, said to be bad omens auguring conflict to come. She reports her sighting to cryptid hunter ANSELM HELENIUS as well as a council of nobles, but she is met with skepticism.
    Daemus continues to have horrible nightmare visions featuring a towered antlered beast. Soon, he is expelled from his community of fellow prophets, or keepers, because he withheld his visions from his superiors. With that, he is devastated, and his UNCLE KESTER comes to escort him back to Castleshire. They link up with a scrappy smuggler-type FAUX DAULDON, who agrees to help Kester and Daemus arrive safely. Meanwhile, Ritter and his men battle a bloodthirsty squad of trollborn marauders, narrowly getting the upper-hand despite being outnumbered.
    However, Kester soon parts ways with Daemus in an effort to divert pursuant, enemy spies.
    Sadly, he is killed by Clan Blood Axe, who are now hunting Daemus. Ritter and Addilyn come together for a masquerade celebration over Ritter’s victory. There is a romantic curiosity between them, but their time is cut short when jesters and bards attack Addilyn’s ambassador father. In his last words, he tells her to sail to Castleshire and to spread word of her tetrine encounter— Dark times are imminent, after all.
    As Ritter and Addilyn set sail with the help of a famed and flamboyant sea captain, Daemus, Faux, and co. do battle with the band of trollborn marauders that killed Kester. In an impressive act of heroism, Daemus avenges his late uncle, smashing the trollborn leader to death with his mace. All the while, Graytorris collects the eyes from a senior keeper, and a survivor sends word of the attack for Daemus— He is increasingly becoming a last hope for the nature and frequency of his visions. Ritter, Addilyn, and co. find themselves chased by pirate ships, and they are forced to engage in battle when they fail to outsail them. An epic, bravura combat ensues, before the heroes ultimately arrive safe in Castleshire. There, they convene with Daemus and co.— Addilyn shares her ominous tetrine encounter, which causes quite an uproar of concern, and Daemus has another telling vision. All in all, the heroes, elders, and community can be sure of one thing— Evil is on the rise and conflict is sure to come. Elsewhere, Graytorris concocts a tide-turning ritual while bracing for blood to be shed just the same.

    About The Author

    Note— The author gives us not a traditional ‘about the author’ section, but a version of the author’s life events as if he lived in the world of Warminster. That said, there is little that this reader would feel qualified to challenge or revise. In many ways, this almost unintelligible Warminster-speak tells us more about the author than a more straightforward ‘about the author’ section ever could. And true to the author’s modus operandi through the story at large— He wants us to work for it.