Realm of Ice and Shadow




Realm of Ice and Shadow
by Leigh Stratton

About Realm of Ice and Shadow


Realm of Ice and Shadow
Young Adult Fantasy
1st in Series
Level Best Books, Level Elevate (November 7, 2023)
Number of Pages 210
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0CKV9K5PG


Seventeen year old Ryleigh Donnovan is certain her life is cursed. Nothing ever goes smoothly, and her first job interview is no exception. An earthquake rocks the building, sending Ryleigh on a frantic search for her younger sister, a search which lands her in the hospital. Terrified they’ll push her for answers she can’t afford to give, Ryleigh flees with a mysterious stranger.

Jackson Maynard is about to be ordained as a Death Dealer, a warrior for the Kingdom of Cymmera, but first he must pass one more test. When he fails to acquire the human girl the prophet has chosen, he’s forced to stand trial for treason. Banished from his realm, he seeks out the girl from the vision, Ryleigh Donnovan, and together they embark on a journey to save his dying kingdom.


Enjoy an Excerpt


“Your Majesty.” Jackson Maynard dropped to one knee before the king and bowed his head. “You summoned me?”

“Rise.” Though the king issued the demand quietly, there was no mistaking the steel in his tone or the strength in his near black eyes. 

As Jackson stood, his gaze ricocheted around the stone chamber, noting everyone present in an instant, as he’d been trained to do. It made no sense he’d been summoned to the throne room. Unless he was in trouble, again. An official reprimand, perhaps? 

He wisely kept his mouth shut, for a change, at least until he had some clue what was going on. Though he’d stood in the throne room more times than he could remember, as a child, as a trainee, even during counsel sessions, his presence had never before been the result of an official summons.

His trainer, the king’s second in command, for the moment anyway, stood at attention beside the throne, feet apart, hands clasped behind him, dark eyes rivetted on Jackson. An imposing figure under the best of circumstances, Kai was downright scary at the moment.

Elijah, the king’s prophet, hurried into the chamber. “My apologies for taking so long, sir, I had to be sure.”

The king simply nodded as Elijah took his place beside Kai, fidgeting with the sleeve of his black robe.

Jackson didn’t have to turn around to know the warriors lining the wall behind him in full battle gear all stood at attention in the king’s presence. If the Death Dealer team had been assembled, something was definitely wrong. 

Since his best friend Dakota wasn’t present, Jackson doubted it had anything to do with the dragon they’d commandeered the night before, though he couldn’t be sure. But the presence of Death Dealers would most likely mean something more pressing than a childish prank, albeit an unwise and dangerous one. Besides, it’s not like they hadn’t returned him when they were done.

King Maynard rose from his throne, standing tall in his own armor. He bore the dark hair of most Cymmeran men, though his had shot through with a streak of silver upon Queen Dara’s death—perhaps the only touch of light she’d been able to leave him. “Prince Maynard…”

Uh oh. His official title, which his father never used unless Jackson was in serious trouble.

“Under Kai’s tutelage,” he continued, “you have trained these past centuries to take your place as a Death Dealer.”

Jackson sucked in a breath. Oh, no way! 

With one hand resting on the handle of his sheathed sword, his expression carved in stone, the king paced the platform that held both the king’s and queen’s thrones, though Queen Dara’s had sat empty these many centuries. 

Jackson’s gaze shifted to the seer, Elijah, only for an instant while his father’s back was turned, but he couldn’t read the other man, couldn’t tell why he’d been summoned. Jackson could only hope… His gaze shot back to the king, offering his full attention before he turned back around.

Unfortunately, his momentary lapse of focus hadn’t been lost on Kai. The warrior scowled in warning, and Jackson struggled to regain his concentration.

King Maynard descended the steps to the chamber floor and stood facing Jackson. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly as he held Jackson’s gaze. “It is time, my son.”


About Leigh Stratton

Young adult and middle-grade fantasy writer Leigh Stratton is the author of the Kingdom of Cymmera series and the Ranger of the Realms series. Leigh grew up in a small town on Long Island where she spent many lazy afternoons with a good book. She would read at the beach, outside beneath a tree, anywhere she could find to curl up and lose herself in a story for a few hours. She loves reading as much now as she did back then, only now she enjoys the added pleasure of creating stories of her own.

Q&A With the Author

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

Jackson Maynard was the inspiration for Realm of Ice and Shadow. His character, The Death Dealer, inspired the story, and that was actually the original title. It was changed later after contracting. When I began writing, I had no idea what direction the story would take, but I’ve always been fascinated with alternate realms. 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Most of the books I write (under different pen names) are cozy mysteries and inspirational romantic suspense. With this book, I’ve found I love writing Fantasy. I get to create an entire world with its own rules, a place to escape to that’s different from the everyday. Plus, there’s dragons. ☺

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?

Books two and three in this series are contracted and due to release on 11/6/2024 and 11/5/2025. I am also working on two cozy mysteries and three romantic suspense novels. Plus, I have a middle grade fantasy out, The Chalice of Power, and I’d love to write more in the series.

Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?

Mostly my plans are to keep writing! I absolutely love it. I am currently outlining a YA fantasy series based on the seven deadly sins, so I hope to get more time to work on that.

Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I would love to say thank you to everyone who reads my stories! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it and how much joy it brings me to know someone has enjoyed a story I’ve written.

Thank you so much for having me and for sharing the release of Realm of Ice and Shadow.

You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing your book with us.






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  1. Thank you so much for having me and for sharing the release of Realm of Ice & Shadow!


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