|Submitted by Rob Roy |
(Feb 27, 2005)
I was anxiously awaiting the release of this book and grabbed it on the release day. The tale picks up where the Bastard King left off. Lanius and Grus, after learning the true identity of the Banished One, try to come up with a means to stop him.
The Banished One however, does not sit on his hands and wait for them to come knocking on his door. In this portion of the tale, the Banished One seeks to spread his influence to the Chernagor people. THe Chernagors had been on peaceful terms with Avornis for a long time, but that peace soon ends as their ships raid the Avornan coast. In the midst of trying to prevent the Banished One from acheiving a foothold in the north, the Menteshe, who are the true servants of the Banished One, invade from the south. It is not only the Menteshe, but the most powerful of the Menteshe who has not brought his forces against Avornis in quite some time.
There is alot of action in the book, but it really delves deep into the personal lives of the main characters. Lanius begins to get confidence and becomes a more powerful character than he had in the first book. With Alca in exile, Grus recruits a new wizard to stand at his side. I found Pterocles to be an interesting character who saves the day more than once. The main group of characters do not make any real progress toward getting the scepter back. As I stated, this book is more about their personal lives and trying to find a way to get around the Banished One's power. Avornans who had tried to get the scepter in previous attempts never returned. They were either killed or turned into "Thralls", mindless minions of the Banished One. Trying to cure the Thralls is major part of this book, for no one is willing to venture south to retain the scepter without knowing that they can be saved from becommming a Thrall.
I didn't find this book to be as good the Bastard King. I still love the way Chernenko writes and I love the characters, I just think if a little bit more happened(don't get me wrong a lot happens), I would have bumped it up to a 5 ranking. I do think however, that this book was the set up for book three, where all hell is going to break loose.
I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes a rich detailed world and characters that are written so well, you really get to know them as if you really did know them. The writting is detailed, with out being over done. The world and characters are well thought out and realistic. No trolls, elves, dwarves or dragons. Politics, everyday life, battles and a war against an outcast God is what you get. You don't really need anything else.