Publishing Date: December 2011 (Orbit)
Publishers Description: War has come to Melengar and once more Royce and Hadrian are hired to make a desperate gamble and form an alliance with the Nationalists whom are fighting the Imperialists in the south. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce’s suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own grab for power. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian’s past–what he discovers may end their friendship and break Riyria in two.
Review: This picks up where the Imperialists have consolidated most of the Region and subsequent power, with a few holdouts being Melenger and the Nationalists. This has been a fantastic ride so far and this novel delivers as the others have before (which were written later….er….). There is good pace coupled to adventures that keep the reader entertained. The internal dialogue is getting a bit longer from characters that you normally don’t associate with introspection. Although Gwen is covered in the prequels (written later…er…) she gets scant coverage in this installment. This hooker with a heart of gold should have had her experiences expanded into this known universe. But hindsight is 20/20 when the novels were written out of sequence. I am so glad Arista got some pants, literally, and is using her own brand of magic.
The character development is so good that you wish for the exultations of the protagonists and pray for the untimely and unseemly deaths of the vile ones. Through this intense involvement you take it personally when characters you like, die. Really looking forward to Bishop Sauldur’s demise.
Some of the battle scenes are hard to visualize, as no numbers are really given for the Ratibor, Nationalist and Imperialist armies so you have no sense of scale. Arista is on the verge of becoming a whiney twit that almost sunk this installment, but girded her loins in order to prevail. The author’s political leanings seep out into the story-line with veiled referents to conservatives/religion etc. that really doesn’t detract too much from the novel. If anything the world he depicts mirrors todays socialist agenda by the Imperialists. Again the cover art needs a lot of work as it follows the same theme.
Get this series and enjoy your time in Elan.