This, the first book in a trilogy of books called 'the Moonshae Trilogy' sees Doug Niles in fine form. He assembles a cast of characterful heroes and villains, and pits them against each other in a story that really brings forth the spirit of the Moonshae Isles upon which they are set. Although it is set upon the vast, and commercially secure Forgotten Realms campaign setting, there isn't so much here you might identify with. Monsters and cultures distinct to the Isles are common place, and foreigners, like Daryth, a streetwise Calishite, are viewed as an oddity.
In this story, we see the main character, Tristan Kendrick, young prince of the Isle of Gwynneth, set out on a journey that will change his life forever. Joining him in his struggles are an assortment of characters, like love interest Robyn, and the aforementioned Daryth. Opposing him are the evil beast Kazgorath, and many other fell minions. Not only is this a tale of good vs. evil, but also poses environmental concerns. As Kazgorath's war machine changes the balance of nature, twisting it and perverting it with no care as to the consequences.
This is, at its core, a good fantasy tale. Bloody battles, epic heroics, and romance all play a part within its covers. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys these things, and who would also like to further examine the forgotten realms away from Icewind Dale and the Underdark. It also has many celtic origins, and may interest those who lean in this direction. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read, flawed with perhaps an underdeveloped writing style and typical plot, which is more than made up for with it's imagination and enjoyable characters.