The BookFest announced the winners of the recent BookFest Awards competition at their semiannual virtual event on April 1, 2023. Receiving a BookFest Award in the Epic Fantasy category was Utah author W.D. Kilpack III for his novel, Order of Light: Book Two of New Blood.
Order of Light is the second of the eight-book New Blood Saga, which centers around Natharr, the Guardian of Maarihk. He is one of a long line of protectors dating back to the Firstborn Age, before the Aa Conquest. Natharr's is an ancient role, rooted in his Firstblood, giving him Sight to see what is yet to be. Natharr stands guard over all men, Aa or Firstborn, Seeing what will come to pass, deciding what is unavoidable and what is not. In Order of Light, Natharr emerges from hiding to find that the Guardian of Maarihk has been condemned as anathema, and his very existence relegated to legend. He resumes his ancient responsibilities as Mankind's protector and joins with a mysterious Firstborn companion, Ellis the Elder. They journey into the snow reaches of Biraald, where his Sight promises he will find those who secretly adhere to the ways of the Olde Gods. Despite Biraaldi bloodlines showing their Firstborn heritage more clearly than even in Maarihk itself, the two nations have never enjoyed peace. It has been far worse since the rise of Brandt the Usurper to Maarihk's throne. Natharr and Ellis must navigate the threats not only against the Firstborn, but the Maarihkish, as they seek out the sympathizers he Saw who are brave enough to resist Maarihk's tyranny. Only then can the damage be repaired from when Natharr chose personal happiness with Darshelle and the young crown prince over his weighty responsibilities as Guardian of Maarihk.
The BookFest Awards honors authors who create outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction. The BookFest's dedication to honoring authors is rooted in the belief in the transformative power of literature and a desire to support and celebrate those who create it.
The BookFest Founder Desiree Duffy said, "It is important to recognize authors for the role they play in creating and sharing stories that entertain, educate, and inspire readers. Books transport us to new worlds, broaden perspectives, and foster empathy. As the Founder of The BookFest, I believe that by saluting authors and their literary achievements we elevate the importance of literature in our society."
This is the fourth award Kilpack has received for Order of Light. The other three include the 2022 Firebird Book Award; a runner-up finish in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category of the Online Book Club's 2021 Book of the Year Competition; and being named a Top Pick by BooksShelf.com. Kilpack said, "Being selected as a winner of The BookFest Awards is incredibly humbling. I am very honored and grateful to be recognized for the hard work and grueling late-night hours that went into creating Order of Light. I hope that other writers seeing this will be inspired to pursue their own literary passions. As I've told so many other members of the literary community: we're all in this together."
According to RedHeadedBookLover.com, Order of Light is "a brilliant followup to an amazing first book ... One of the most well-written and well-developed stories I have ever come across ... A poignant, sensational, and captivating novel that will take [you] on a turbulent-but-fantastic journey full of ups and downs and shocks and thrills galore! Order of Light is compelling thanks to the enthralling moments as well as the unpredictable nature of the book that will have you turning the pages with haste from beginning to end ... The reader is taken on an exceptional journey that is continuously evolving and changing ...Order of Lightis a remarkable, fascinating, and addictive read with a unique premise as well as the excellent literature ... A phenomenal novel that captivated me ... W.D. Kilpack III is an incredibly talented author who clearly knows how to write unique-but-engaging stories ... What I loved the most about Kilpack's writing is his remarkable descriptions because they genuinely amazed me! Order of Light is a marvelous, stellar, and supreme book that will entertain, delight readers from start to finish!"
According to Sinister Soup podcast co-founder, Clay Vermulm, "Bill [Kilpack] is a wonderful man who works extremely hard on his craft. Kilpack delivers a stunning blow to the belief that Indie-Fantasy is worth any less that its salt [with] well-crafted epic[s] with unique plot mechanisms, well-developed and believable characters, and a world grounded in the visceral and the real."
Author and screenwriter Jeff Bailey said that Kilpack "is an active author of novels, TV screenwriter, producer, and partner in a movie production company. I consider him to be one of the new breed of fast rising influencers in the publishing, television, and movie industries."
Kilpack is an award-winning and critically acclaimed internationally published writer, with works appearing in print, online, radio and television, starting with his first publication credit at the age of nine, when he wrote an award-winning poem. As an adult, he has been editor and/or publisher of 19 news and literary publications, both online and in print, with circulations as high as 770,000. He is an accomplished cook and has cooked nearly every type of food on a grill. He received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Westminster College of Salt Lake City. As an undergrad, he double-majored in communication and philosophy, while completing the Honors Program. As a graduate student, he earned a master of professional communication with a writing emphasis. He was also a high-performing athlete, qualifying for international competition in Greco-Roman wrestling. He is a communication professor and a nationally recognized wrestling coach. He is happily married to his high-school sweetheart and is father to five children, as well as helping to raise five step-children. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he continues to live, coach and teach. For more information go to www.Kilpack.net.
The BookFest is the leader in virtual literary events and produces vital conversations on the world's stage for those who love to read, and those who love to write. It launched May 2020 at a time when lockdown forced many live events to be cancelled. Free to attend, the biannual event happens in the spring and fall, and streams panel discussions, conversations, and live interactive sessions. As an award winner, The BookFest has recognitions from the Webby Awards with a nomination in 2021, a gold award from the Muse Creative Awards in 2020, and a silver award from the w3 Awards in 2020. The BookFest features an array of literary speakers, experts, and authors, which has included Mitch Albom; Kevin J. Anderson; Angela Bole; Mark Coker; Robert G. Diforio; Cheryl Willis Hudson; Wade Hudson; Sarah Kendzior; Jonathan Maberry; Lisa Morton; Karla Olson; James Rollins; Connie Schultz; Michael Shermer; Mark K. Shriver; Danny Trejo; Helene Wecker; Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, and many others. The BookFest is presented by Books That Make You and produced by Black Château Enterprises. The BookFest is a registered trademark of Desireé Duffy, who is the founder of all three. For more information, visit The BookFest.com.