The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle: Exclusive Artwork Reveal and Giveaway!


April 16, 2013 by Heidi

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher HealyI have a confession.  For the most part, I’m like you.  Usually anyway.  Usually I root for the good guy, you know evil vanquished and good triumphant and all that, but sometimes–just every so often–I like to root for the bad guys.

It’s no secret by now that I simply adored Christopher Healy’s debut, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.  It is, if you will excuse the expression, simply charming.  I fell for the exploits of the League of Princes, but even more so I fell for Healy’s dastardly villains:  Princess Briar Rose, bounty hunter Ruffian the Blue, Deeb Rauber the Bandit King, and of course my favorite logophilic witch, Zaubera.  And if I had to pick something to love about Healy’s books besides these wonderfully creative characters?  I’d go with Todd Harris’ wonderful artwork hands down.

And so it is my absolute pleasure today to be able to present you with a short excerpt from the upcoming The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle–Releasing April 30th by Walden Pond Press–accompanied by one of my favorite pieces of art from the book which features (you guessed it) some new villains.  Not only that, but one other villain lover has the chance to win a print and a copy of the book!

The Warlord of Dar closed the door to his guest suite: a posh room carpeted with pilfered animal-skin rugs and furnished with sophisticated armchairs and armoires that Rauber had stolen over the years. He turned to address the Darian soldiers he had gathered there. First in line was Madu, the Keeper of the Snake. Tall and lithe, Madu wore a tattered kilt and a loose vest that hung open to reveal scores of serpent tattoos covering his skin.

Beside the snake handler stood a stocky bodyguard named Jezek, who was clad from collar to boots in spike-studded armor. And next to him was Redshirt, a thick-necked barbarian with a penchant for licking the edge of his ax.

The final member of Rundark’s cabal was Wrathgar, the dungeon master. A walking mass of muscle, Wrathgar was larger than the Warlord himself (larger than all Gustav’s brothers, too—in case you’re keeping score). A red-and-black mask covered the top half of his face, while below it, a freakishly long mustache hung down to his chest like a pair of face-ponytails. Tied to each end of his mustache was an unidentified bone: the remnant of a lion’s claw, perhaps, or a human finger, or maybe just a chicken leg (it’s not like anybody was going to ask).

Lord Rundark had discovered Wrathgar years earlier. The Warlord had been leading a platoon of barbarian soldiers to raid and ransack the Darian village of Hocksnath, but when he arrived, he saw that the town had already been reduced to a blackened field of burning timbers and smoking rubble. Standing in the center of all that debris was Wrathgar. As the Warlord approached the masked behemoth, Wrathgar simply said, “The people of Hocksnath didn’t like my facial hair.” To which Rundark responded by offering the man a job. Wrathgar had been Rundark’s secret weapon ever since.

Text Copyright © 2013 by Christopher Healy

Rundark's Henchmen by Todd Harris

Artwork Copyright © 2013 by Todd Harris


Okay villain lovers, isn’t Wrathgar awesome?  Not even Game of Thrones can compete with that facial hair.  The wonderful people over at Walden Pond Press are offering up not one, but two awesome prizes for one lucky winner!  Enter to win:

  • A framed print of the ax-licking good artwork shown here signed by the artist, Todd Harris.
  • A hardcover copy of The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

Giveaway is US only.
I will e-mail the winner once selected, you will have 24 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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  1. YvonneJ says:

    I plan to listen to the audiobook version because Bronson Pinchot did such a wonderful job narrating the first book but I will also have to have a print version just for the artwork. This is one of my favorite middle grade book series.

  2. Man – I’ve been wanting to read The Hero’s Guide foreverrrr because hello it’s fun and middle grade and ALL the things I love!

    And I’m with you – sometimes it’s just fun to root for the bad guy! NO shame in that.

  3. I still haven’t read the first book, but I just ordered it, so I’ll definitely be reading it soon. The artwork looks amazing, so I’m looking forward to both books!

  4. Traci says:

    Would love to win this for my grandson Derek…he loves to read!!! Artwork is wonderful, reallt makes the book
    Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  5. kim heimbuch says:

    I love his art. It’s like a blend of How to Train a Dragon meets the Brutal Legend game!

  6. I’m always looking for excellent giveaways that are worth my time and energy. Especially ones that include more than just a book I would promote/tweet/write about anyways by providing a killer print.

    Would be awesome to get to be the winner here.

  7. Kate Cone says:

    Love this artwork style!

    And, favorite villains/anti-heroes: The Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone and Severus Snape from Harry Potter.

  8. Samantha says:

    I think that my favorite villain will end up being Redshirt and I love that the artwork is so diverse. I wanted to read The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle since I finished the first book. I am so excited it is almost out!

  9. Dena says:

    I am definitely looking forward to the new book. I love his artwork. He has a knack for developing memorable characters!

  10. LOVE LOVE the artwork. (And the facial hair of course.) I agree with Kim; there’s something reminiscent of How to Train Your Dragon.

  11. I agree, the villains in this series are fabulous. I mean, I was still rooting for the Princes to save the day (I mean – DUNCAN!) but the villains add so much awesomeness to the story. I have a particular soft spot for The Bandit King. He seriously cracks me up :)

  12. I just went back to read your Hero’s Guide review and I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!! A league of Princes Charming! Briar Rose as a villain! What!

    Okay, I just got it. Yay for the Kindle edition. :)

  13. EEEEK!! I loveeee the artwork!! Also my favorite villain is Dracula, I think..or Snape..or Maleficent..OMG we both know I always love the villain the most, who are we kidding, I can’t choose!! Also you know I am reading this now and I am LOVING it, I kept LOLing today and S was like “What?!!!” 😀

  14. […] returned, so is Deeb Rauber, the pint-sized squirt of a comical villain.  In fact, as I’ve pointed out before, Storming the Castle is practically overflowing with villains, and I love every one.  Except for […]

  15. […] Guide to Storming the Castle.  Yesterday I talked about the story, and a few weeks back I revealed some of the art–today I present to you one of my beloved villains!  You all know I […]

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.