|Submitted by avi_stetto |
(Jul 08, 2005)
Richius Vantran was the prince of the tiny country of Aramoor, which is part of the Empire of Nar. While fighting in the neighboring continent of Lucel-Lor, Richius meets and falls in love with a local woman named Dyana while on a scouting mission. There's a problem, though: Dyana is the betrothed of the revolutionary priest, Tharn, and Tharn will stop at nothing to make Dyana his wife.
After Tharn forcibly takes Dyana from him, Richius returns to Aramoor and learns that his father has died and the Emperor wants him to conquer Lucel-Lor. Richius finds out that Dyana is alive, and goes to Lucel-Lor to find her and bring her back to Aramoor. However, while he is there, the Emperor declares Richius an outlaw. Richius throws his lot in with Tharn and his followers--the same people he was fighting against--in an attempt to keep Nar from absorbing the people of Lucel-Lor.
This book is fairly decent. I really have enjoyed reading it, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, but there is really a definite "first book" feel to _The Jackal of Nar_. I really, really like the combat scenes; they are Marco's strong suit. The technology that was used in the warfare was interesting, and I would have liked to have seen Marco amplify the role of the militaristic aspects. However, sadly, that's not the focus of the book.
The real focus of the story is on the characters of Richius. And while he is a fairly likeable character, he's really not strong enough to carry the plot. Let me give you some spoiler-laden examples.
Dyana is desperate for money, and so she begins to work as a prostitute in a bar. Richius' subordinate officer, Dinadin, notices her, but Richius tells him not to hire her because Richius wants his troops to respect the people of Lucel-Lor. However, as soon as Dinadin leaves to seek amusement elsewhere, Richius gets deep into his cups and then hires Dyana. Thus begins her infatuation with her.
When he returns to Aramoor, Richius marries a girl he doesn't love for good, but misguided, reasons because he thinks that Dyana is dead. When he finds out that she is alive, he leaves his new wife in order to go to Dyana with his wife's blessings. The way that it is handled is very unrealistically.
And that is pretty much how the rest of the book goes. Richius will do just about anything to be with or near Dyana, and everyone around them, even Tharn, facilitates their relationship. Granted, this is fantasy, but there comes a point where art imitates life, and even fantasy writers should at least adhere to the bare-bones minimum imitations. I think it's great that Richius is fallible, but I just wish that he learned from his errors. However, he's basically at the same point in the book as he was when he started, which is rather disappointing.