Apprentice to Murder: The Tale of Robin the Rascal in the Wizard's Own Words

Life is easy for young Prince Robin. Growing up with the luxuries afforded members of the royal family, he dreams of one day becoming a knight like his late father. But the young nobleman’s dreams are derailed when his cousin, heir apparent Prince John, dies under questionable circumstances. Fingers quickly point to Robin, who inconveniently happens to be the next in the line of succession and the last person to have seen John alive.

Apprentice to Murder

The Tale of Robin the Rascal in the Wizard's Own Words

To prevent civil war, Robin abdicates his birthright for an apprenticeship under the Royal Wizard Septimus. Robin’s sacrifice saves the kingdom, but he can’t save everyone. One by one, the inhabitants of Windwick Castle begin to die, each new death seeming to further incriminate the wizard’s apprentice. The only way for Robin to save himself is find John’s real killer.

The apprentice wizard is going to learn the hard way that even magic has its limits.

  “The author does an excellent job developing the characters, grabs your attention in the beginning and then continues to a tense climax at the ending.”

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James Walter Stephens was born and raised in Georgia, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing/Painting from the University of Georgia. He works nights as a video game designer and in his free time writes fantasy novels.

He can be contacted through his personal website,

Central Kingdoms Chronicles Book 1: The Wizards of Ranaloy

Forty years ago, the twelve nations united by the Central Kingdoms Covenant narrowly defeated the invading Dragoneers and won the Trifold War. But while they were repelling enemies from beyond their borders, the seeds of a far more sinister threat were being sown within. Now Thorgils Falloe of Ranaloy is determined to recover the throne he lost in the war, even if that means destroying the entire Central Kingdoms.

The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book One

The Wizards of Ranaloy

Caught up in Thorgils’ plot, apprentice wizard Artimus’ only hope of saving the Central Kingdoms lay in reaching his distant master, the great wizard Trafar. Joining Artimus in his quest are Talas, a monk on a quest of his own, Silas, a mercenary with a secret talent for telepathy, the elven brothers Tremene and Murad, a prince, a golem, and the self-proclaimed World’s Greatest Gladiator, Thrasybalus. Unfortunately for them, finding Trafar is only the beginning of the story . . . .

  “Great characters on an adventure to find the king, in a treacherous universe filled with the author's wit and wisdom.”
—Christopher F.

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Central Kingdoms Chronicles Book 2: Prince Thorgils' War

Thorgils Falloe of Ranaloy has invaded his neighbors and ignited a civil war. As the Central Kingdoms Council mires in legislative gridlock, the nations it represents begin to fall one-by-one to Thorgils' war machine. Yet Thorgils is not the worst threat facing the Central Kingdoms. Behind the scenes, the necromancer Kurse is making other plans.

The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book Two

Prince Thorgils’ War

Artimus is eager to go to war against the treacherous Thorgils. Like all young men, he expects to find glory and fame on the battlefield. He is about to learn otherwise.

Fortunately for the young wizard, he won’t be going to war alone. The noble monk Talas, the mercenary Silas, and the invincible gladiator Thrasybalus will fight by his side. Together with Tremene, Whisper, and the loyal soldier Borenson, they are more than a match for any regular army. However, what they don’t know is that somewhere Kurse is raising an army of his own, an army of the dead . . . .

  “Stephens has crafted a worthy successor to The Wizards of Ranaloy, delivering more action and a cliffhanger that will leave readers begging for more.”
—Brian C.

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Central Kingdoms Chronicles Book 3: A Quest Before Dying

The minions of the necromancer Kurse have overrun the former Central Kingdoms, reducing a once thriving civilization to a massive necropolis. The only thing keeping the rest of the world safe is the magical wall known as the Great Barrier Flame, and it’s failing. In a last ditch effort to forestall the inevitable, man and elven kind have banded together to form an army. They will soon learn just how hard it is to kill the dead.

The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book Three

A Quest Before Dying

Time is running out for the wizard Artimus. He blames himself for the rise of Kurse and has dedicated his life to correcting his mistake.

In order to finally defeat Kurse, Artimus recruits the legendary swordsman Ico and his companions, the archer Corrin and her lover, Jon. Artimus’ plan is to sneak attack Kurse’s domain indirectly. Their quest will take them across the planes of the multiverse where they’ll find many surprises (including a few familiar faces). With Kurse growing more powerful each day, it’s a race against time with the fate of the future hanging in the balance . . . .

  “This was a lot of fun. The first two books moved at a steady pace but the final act moved at light speed.”
—Keith A.

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Central Kingdoms Chronicles Book 4: Specter of the Lich

Thirty years have passed since Apocalypse Night, and Sewert has grown into its role as the preeminent city-nation of the Central Kingdoms thanks in large part to the leadership of its mayor, Ico Nardeth. However, disturbing new signs point to a looming threat to the great metropolis. Someone looks to be following in the footsteps of the necromancer Kurse.

The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book Four

Specter of the Lich

Ico’s summons comes at an inopportune time for Artimus, but the aging Royal Wizard of Ranaloy has never been one to turn his back on a friend in need. Besides, he knows this new adventure to defend the Central Kingdoms from an all-too-familiar threat will be a walk in the park for the reunited Heroes of Apocalypse Night. Artimus will soon discover how wrong he is, and it just may be his own son, Kurgan, who will pay for that mistake . . . .

  “Wow, unexpected and satisfying ending to what is one of the most enjoyable fantasy stories I have ever read. I highly recommend any fan of the fantasy genre to pick up this novel (and series if you haven't already). Worth the read!”
—Amazon customer

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