Journey to Fire's Keep
The Return to the Temple, Book One

Journey to Fire's Keep

Journey to Fire's Keep

The presageful tempest streamed over the forest, coming to rest over a small crevice in the side of the hill. For the two cowering inside the hole, its paradoxical approach was simultaneously too fast and not fast enough; they had known this day would eventually come, yet they still chose to try to run. The woman, peering out the aperture for the silhouette that would confirm their worst fears, knew this had not been the wisest choice, but there was no other option in her perspective—she could not let him take her Firstborn.

In this moment, all the hard work they had done over the past several months to get to this place was coming to its true fruition—futility. As his outline came into view, she cried out in disbelief, anxious of what she knew was to come. Tears in her eyes, she turned to face her husband, his nervous back-and-forth pacing a constant contrast to the rain outside. "He's really coming! We've got to do something!"

"What can we do?" her husband inquired in an exasperated tone, stopping his frantic ambulation to turn and address her directly. "You know he's unstoppable. You knew this when we first started running from him! I don't even know why I agreed to—"

The dialogue was abruptly halted by the rhythmic beating of wings. He had arrived. The baby, nestled in a crude cradle made of sticks, cried out in fear.

"Hide him!" the desperate mother roared. This time, he was not going to get what he came for. She was going to end this here.

The man, contrary to his initial demeanor, complied, swiftly hiding the child under a blanket, then covering it crudely with leaves. He next ran to hide himself, cowering behind a rock ledge leading deeper into the cave; he had not seen the figure in person and did not wish to change this, knowing full-well what he was capable of.

With a crack of thunder, the distinct image of a harbinger of destiny strolled confidently into the abode, head held high. The walls rattled as he yelled with a voice strong and loud, confident as the unrelenting downpour. "Where is it!?"

"What?" the mother asked, confident in her defiance.

"You, of anyone, should know," he said with an almost snakelike hiss. "You made the deal. Now is the time that I reap my share of the bargain."


"I let you live once, I won't make the same mistake again!" His voice escalated with every word. As he finished, a blast of fire leapt from his throat, engulfing and consuming the woman almost instantaneously. She collapsed in a pile of fine ash.

"How nice," he sneered. "The funeral pyre has already been taken care of." He found the child immediately, its wailing more than enough to reveal its whereabouts. This face shall know me forever, and will know of his pathetically human father, he thought. Perfect; the child would always submit. A demonic grin crept across his face, betraying his calm facade with a brief appearance of sheer sadistic rapture.

He turned and walked out the door as immediately as though nothing of consequence had happened there. The man, still cowering, waited until the beating stopped and the skies cleared. Only then, when he knew he was safe, did he mourn the death of his heroic, loving wife. He would never see her again.

Her soul, who had been watching the scene, also cried out in pain, in grief for her spouse. More than that, however, was the pain of unfinished business that she had to attend to—she had to see to it that her husband and child were happy.

The Return to the Temple, Book One
Their hometown scorched to the earth, a self-doubting young man and his naïve, childish half-elf friend depart on a quest to find closure by determining the source of the mysterious blaze. Up against a megalomaniacal sorcerer and his headstrong apprentice, their exploits draw the ire of the magical organization that seeks to keep the world's forces in balance. In a world where magic is practiced like a science, they must face their demons head-on in a world they barely understand, or risk losing everything to their enemies' twisted plot.


Owens manages to pack an impressive amount of intrigue and action into less than 200 pages. Although his marriage of ancient magic and modern conveniences can sometimes be jarring [...], his commitment to his characters give the story the cohesion it requires.

"Journey to Fire’s Keep doesn’t reinvent the fantasy novel, but its creative approach is bound to entertain readers looking for a fresh take on a long-established formula.
~BlueInk Reviews
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[...] For a novel hinging on retribution, this is a surprisingly funny book. [...] Owens’ world is a refreshing take on elves and orcs. The inventive realm blends modern living with traditional fantasy elements. [...] The humor seems effortless, and each discovery of how modernity fits into the conventional fantasy landscape is a delight. [...] Owens is at his best with two extremes: humor and a more solemn tone that’s standard for a traditional fantasy. [...] A fun, amusing, and innovative fantasy.
~Kirkus Reviews
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Your book is totally awesome! I love how your characters have such real emotions and flaws. Once you start reading it you wont be able to put it down until you read the very last word. I am waiting impatiently I might add for the next installment!!!!!!!
~Sharon Cassidy
This was a very solid beginning book for this author. I look forward to any sequels or further books written by him.
It's a very approachable story set in a tangibly sculpted world, and is told in a brisk, lively fashion that should entertain readers all the way through. [...] Give it a read.
~J. Brotherton
One of the things I always want to see in epic fantasies is a powerful setting. Yes, I want to be uprooted from my immediate world and carried away to a world that is unique and believable, and Grady L Owens has created such an exciting setting in this compelling work. The story begins in the midst of action and the reader is immediately introduced to a crisis. It is interesting to note how the author integrates powerful and vivid descriptions of the setting into the action. The reader's senses are awakened to great smells, sights and objects. The writing features very colorful descriptions and plot-driven dialogues that will mesmerize readers. I couldn't help but eagerly follow the characters, because they are well-imagined and developed with mastery. Journey to Fire's Keep: The Return to the Temple will take readers on an adventure to a magical world where humans and other magical creatures coexist.
~Arya Fomonyuy, Reader's Favorite