The people of the Swamp live in the shadows of the Peaks, forever fighting in a silent, dark, monster-infested wasteland. They have been abandoned by the rest of humanity, and desire nothing but to survive. The people of the Peaks live in constant fear of attacks from the monstrous deeplings, horrors born of the earth that constantly claw towards the fortresses in the sky. The highlanders believe that the swamplings control the deeplings, and send out troops to purge them every few years in an attempt to hold back the monsters.
Prince Josen, the reluctant heir to the throne of the Peaks, finds himself stranded in the lightless Swamp, left for dead. He is forced to ally with the swamplings in order to return to the Peaks and prevent the enemy from taking advantage of an ancient prophecy to claim the throne for himself. Zerill, one of the swamplings, hates the highlanders for what they have done to her people, but works with Josen to put a stop to the purges.
And through it all, the Deepwalker, the true lord of the deeplings, stirs.
The Swampling King is the first book in The Windwalker Legacy series by Ben S. Dobson.
This book provides examples of:
- Corrupt Church: It's clear that the church cares far more about temporal power than actually following their own religion. They sponsored the Outer Duchies Rebellion, then denied it when it was clear the rebels were going to lose.
- Cycle of Revenge: The swamplings hate the highlanders for murdering them on sight, and the highlanders hate the swamplings for the exact same thing. Part of the problem is that the highlanders mistakenly believe that the swamplings control the deeplings, so everything the monsters do is blamed on the swamplings as well. That being said, the swamplings do genuinely kill any highlanders they find in the Swamp—but again, that's because the highlanders do the same to them.
- Hiding Behind Religion: Quite a few of the priests find ways to use the holy Word for whatever purpose they feel like at the moment, which is generally some variant of "we all need to unite and slaughter the swamplings." Most of them don't even care that the Last Windwalker is a swampling.
- Humble Hero: Subverted with Josen; he spends all his time in disguise among the common folk, and they love him for it, but the truth is he just really doesn't want to have anything to do with the throne.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Lenoden is horrified when he unleashes the deeplings on the Plateaus. After, though, he still blames Josen.
- Never My Fault: Duke Lenoden is very good at blaming everyone else for anything that goes wrong. He makes a very strong case that he wanted peace and it's Josen's fault they're going to war... even though he's the one who set up the situation so that there would be war if he didn't get what he wants.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Windwalkers have gold eyes, like an eagle, which are impossible to mistake for anything else. The fact that a swampling has Windwalker eyes is a huge deal that overturns centuries of religious dogma... which is why the church works to cover it up.