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Brush With Darkness (Arts Reborn Book 1) by [Maltman, Jamie]
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Brush With Darkness (Arts Reborn Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 328 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

It started with a simple dream for Simon: join the legions, escape a life of mediocrity, and bring respect to the family name. A border incursion by restive Scentari barbarians looked like that opportunity for an artist turned soldier to transcend his roots, and fight for the glory of the Pazian Republic. Or so it seemed.

The return of dark magic, thought to be the stuff of myth and legend, turns a simple mission into a brutal slaughter, and Simon must warn the Senate of the unimaginable defeat. But a mysterious sculptress shows him that his buried creativity may be their only hope against an ancient foe that poses the greatest threat the Republic has ever seen.

Simon must explore this Talent while navigating a treacherous maelstrom of political intrigue and shifting allegiances, torn between ambition and curiosity, duty and love.


The ARTS REBORN series follows the story of the lives touched by the return of opposing magical forces of artistic creation and elemental destruction to the Republic of Pazh, a historically-inspired world where hints of ancient Rome, Greece and the Mediterranean mix with the fantastical.

Brush With Darkness is Book I of Arts Reborn, but stands alone as a story, with additional arcs that continue on in the series.

Book II: Blood of the Water is available now on Amazon.

At the publisher's request, this book is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied. This book has been extensively edited and proofread.

About the Author

When I write, I follow my characters wherever they lead me, on journeys through fantastical places surprisingly similar to times and places in our past. Except there's magic. The Arts Reborn series (Book I: Brush With Darkness) goes to a place that isn't Rome in the time of the Republic. I'd love to connect with you at www.jamiemaltman.com When I'm not writing or reading, I'm at home in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, spending time with my wife and two young boys, which generally involves playing some kind of board or computer games. Or reading. Or traveling. Otherwise I'm probably reading or watching my Toronto Raptors play basketball. Yes, they're mine. And yes, I stubbornly refused to write this in the 3rd person.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2089 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Testudo Press; 3 edition (March 18 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J3HOJ5I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #453,214 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed Jamie Maltman's first novel immensely... was on the edge of my seat as the characters developed and the plot unfolded. Was so excited to go on his second.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent, fast paces story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x997abc18) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a560594) out of 5 stars A Good Read Oct. 6 2014
By Timothy Stead - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this book. It's well written, well plotted, and though the pace could have been upped a little it was something that I looked forward to getting back to every time I picked up my kindle.

The book could be categorised as a Romanesque fantasy. It's set in a world where the empire (Pazh) is ruled by a senate and enforces its will through legions famous for their discipline. The shadow of Rome is ever present. The story follows the experiences of Simon, son of a merchant who joined the legions to see more of the world and win glory for his family name. He's also a frustrated painter, but more of that later. The book opens with a battle, more or less. I thought that more could have been made of this, but the point of view stays resolutely with Simon and outside the heat of battle. The legion loses (that's not much of a spoiler) and Simon is sent back, along with an arrogant aristocratic officer, to present his evidence to the senate . On his way home he meets Elysia, and learns that he not just a painter. I'll avoid any more plot lest I spoil it.

The characters, especially Simon and Eysia are pretty well drawn, likeable and engaging. The black hats are not entirely without merit. They may be cruel, ambitious, even nasty at times, but they always have a smattering of good characteristics - courage, affection, determination. That makes for more rounded characters, and the story a better tale.

The magical scheme is simple enough in general - creativity versus destruction. It works quite well. The good magic is a little laboured, but the bad magic is somewhat limited, so they balance out.

My only real gripe is with the title, which I suspect of being a somewhat contrived pun - mildly amusing the first time, but less so every time you see it. This is a sort review (for me) because there was really nothing to complain about.

All in all a good read. I may well get round to the sequel.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fbcfca8) out of 5 stars Solid writing, but it just wasn't for me May 11 2015
By Andi O'Connor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I hate to say this, but I just couldn't get into this book. I was extremely intrigued by the blurb on the back cover. But when I started reading, nothing grabbed me and pulled me in. I felt no connection to the characters. For being book 1 of a series, there wasn't anything done to let the reader get a feel for the world and plot. It's like I was a new student thrown into a class in the middle of the year with no one willing to fill me in on what was happening. There were a lot of characters right from the beginning, and I had a difficult time keeping track of them and remembering who was who. I found it to be unnecessarily wordy and frequently had to read the same sentence multiple times to understand what the author was trying to say. In many ways, it felt like I was reading a history book.

Don't get me wrong, there wasn't anything amiss with Mr. Maltman's writing. It was solid. No grammatical errors. It was extremely well thought out and researched. The combination of Fantasy with Rome is an interesting concept, but the story itself just wasn't for me. That being said, many people have enjoyed it, so just because it wasn't my cup of tea doesn't mean it won't be yours.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x998497a4) out of 5 stars A World You'll Want to Explore Further Dec 16 2014
By Robert Laman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Disclaimer: Though I purchased and read this book of my own accord, the author is an acquaintance. Take that as you will.

Brush With Darkness, the first novel in the Arts Reborn series, by author Jamie Maltman, introduces the reader to our protagonist, Simon Baroba, a legionary of the Republic of Pazh. The story follows the adventures of this young man as the Republic first encounters an evil rising out from Scentar, a neighbouring nation, in the form of dark magic. Simon must help the Republic face the threat of this darkness, a power which was believed to be merely legend. But as Simon discovers, a small group of people have long known otherwise and they will help him discover his own Talent as he tries to stop the threat.

The book weaves a rich tapestry, exposing the reader to an expansive new world, inspired by ancient Rome, Greece and the surrounding territories. The author uses those historical civilizations as the framework for the Pazian military, political and social structures, building an intricate world and society. But this is not historical fiction proper. The historically inspired elements serve to influence and provide a reference for the reader but the world itself is wholly other. There is magic, which provides an element of fantasy to the work, taking what could be a straight historical fiction were it based in Rome proper and adding another layer to the story. The magic itself aligns with good and evil, where good magic is expressed in creation, through art, while evil magic consumes and destroys. The author's affinity for art, by way of painting and sculpting, also serves as a major theme for the book, woven throughout as both descriptive colour and a critical aspect of the storyline. The threads of art, history and magic suit the story, blending naturally and yet never overwhelming the core narrative.

Brush With Darkness establishes a complex, interesting world that quickly pulled me in. I found myself wanting to know where the story was going next, looking for opportunities to steal a few more moments with the book. I'm looking forward to exploring this world and these characters further as the Arts Reborn series continues. The book should appeal to a broad audience. Though the story contains an aspect of fantasy in the inclusion of magic it is never overwhelming or inaccessible in the way that straight fantasy can sometimes be. Likewise, the historically inspired details serve as a base for setting, time and culture, never dominating the story with unnecessary details. It is a highly accessible adventure that will draw readers in with characters you will pull for and a world that you'll want to explore further.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e2d58b8) out of 5 stars Refreshingly original magical fantasy Jan. 20 2015
By M. Gotshall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I didn't really know what to expect when I started reading this book, but I was very pleasantly surprised!

Maltman's fantasy concept is refreshingly creative, especially in the current literary atmosphere where so many magical fantasies seem to blend into one another. Most stories in the same vein follow the familiar Hogwarts homage: the protagonist discovers a latent ability and enters training with the existing experts. Instead of repeating this common trope, Maltman's characters find themselves rediscovering a lost craft, so they explore the scope of their powers along with the reader. This cleverly escapes the plot holes that often leave the reader wondering why the novices (rather than the experts) are always the ones fighting the ultimate evil, and why their mentors rarely teach them a fit-for-purpose set of skills.

The decidedly-Roman fantasy world of Pazh is well thought out, and leaves the reader with a twinge of wanderlust, wondering what the other parts of the empire will be like. The prose gives enough hints for the reader to understand the basic geography and culture without needing to extensively refer to the map and notes at the back of the book.

My only criticism is that at certain points the plot felt overly rushed. I had trouble buying into a few of the characters' more emotion-driven decisions and felt that the timeline was a bit too short to be believable. The female lead in particular seems to fluctuate between extreme feelings at a somewhat unrealistic rate. While this wasn't a serious problem, it was enough to strain my suspension of disbelief a few times and pull me back to reality out of an otherwise extremely immersive novel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9964eb40) out of 5 stars Vivid Descriptions and Excellent Characters June 7 2014
By AdamAuthor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading this book. As a lover of historical fiction, I was concerned when the grandeur and immense scope of the Roman Era meets with a rare and specialized form of magic, but Mr. Maltman pulls it off with ease!

As the tale opens, we meet Simon, a young, unassuming member of the who is tasked with the responsibility of informing the Senate of this new development. Along the way, Simon grows from a young, somewhat naive man into a leader as the events of the story mold and shape him.

The descriptions of the various places that Simon travels are vivid and well written. I could definitely smell the paints that Simon uses, and the warm bread from Elysia's shop. I could feel the heat of the sun as the Legion marched, and the spray of the sea when Simon is aboard the ships in transit. And I felt at ease when Simon was met with the familiar sights and sounds as he returned home to Pazh.

With new allies to help him in his new charge to defeat the Scentari army, Simon and his group of trusted friends form a plan to save Pazh from complete distruction. Wielding magic in different forms, Simon and Elysia, along with Kyso and Zeno aid the forces of right against the Scentari.

No spoilers here, but Mr. Maltman has written a tale that will be remembered. I am grateful I had the chance to read this book, and I look forward to finding out more of Simon's life. We certainly have not seen the last of him. I would recommend this book to those who like historical fiction or fantasy, as there is certainly enough of both to keep you hooked and wanting more.