Hearts of Men

Author: Aelaer

Nominator: Aelaer

2011 Award Category: Incomplete: Drama

Story Type: Incomplete  ✧  Length: Medium Length

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Violence

Summary: Shortly after Aragorn's crowning, a new, unexpected threat emerges from the heart of Minas Tirith. Characters: Aragorn, Faramir, Hurin, Arwen, many OCs. Genre: Political drama. Work in progress, updated weekly; will be complete by the end of 2011.(90% is already written, one chapter posted a week, 4 online as of late June.)

Read the Story  ✧  Backup Story Link

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 9

This is an entertaining story in the Royal Lookalike vein ([Prince and the Pauper], [Prisoner of Zenda], etc.), though the fateful switch has yet to occur. The opening chapter confronts us with the resentment of a cobbler whose sense of self is challenged by the king who is his double: ["This outlander, this stranger that my countrymen so readily accept! They forget that they have known me for years. They forget our laughter and our tears and readily replace my face with his. "You look exactly like him," old friends say. ... I am not me anymore; I am simply a commoner who looks like our new king."] Bregan is soon courted by Balandor, an enigmatic and not unlikable guild-master of the Merchant's Guild, who plans to supplant Aragorn. That this must, by necessity, involve murder, neither really seems to acknowledge, and they are rendered oddly sympathetic by the amount of time that we spend with them, watching as their preparations proceed, with sword lessons, language instruction, speech coaching, equitation, and all of the other skills that Bregan will need...plus curbing that unfortunate drinking habit he developed after his son's death in Osgiliath. At the same time we are privy to the early days of Aragorn's reign as he builds his relationship with Faramir, finds a new sapling of the line of Nimloth, marries his beloved Arwen, and generally settles into ruling Gondor. It will be interesting to see what happens when these two plot lines converge.

Reviewed by: Striderette  ✧  Score: 5

A wonderfully absorbing tale full of political intrigue! Aelaer paints a realistic portrait of the early days of Elessar's reign, while simultaneously building suspense as a wicked plot forms in the hearts of men for the usurpation of Aragorn's throne. The canon characters are marvelously drawn, as are the myriad original characters in this tightly woven tale. This is surely a "page turner" - one I hope the author will see through to its conclusion. A must-read for anyone who enjoys reading thrilling tales about the Fourth Age of Middle-earth.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

This WIP has a really intriguing plot, reminiscent of tales like The Prince and the Pauper or The Prisoner of Zenda, and yet very different as well. The reader can easily see the holes in the conspiracy being undertaken; yet the conspirators seem to have planned for many contingencies-- will anyone spot the imposter if they succeed? Or will they fail spectacularly? The answer lies in future chapters. I look forward very much to an update!