It saddens me that there are only nine customer reviews on this marvelous book! The Bridge of D'Arnath series that Berg has written are marvelous, and full of intelligent creation of several worlds that are all connected. Each volume in the series stands alone, the story never a mere regurgitation of the same plot. Rather, each book has a distinct story line, introduces new characters and places. As such, this fourth installment, Daughter of the Ancients, is no exception.
The story begins with Karon facing a slow but brutal death from an internal disease. I had to put this book aside for several months in fact, because when I first began to read it, my own father had just died of a terrible colon cancer. The first chapter simply resonated too closely with my own life: Karon's pain, his weakening, all that I had just lived through.
Seri, concerned over her husband's illness, realises that there is probably little she can do but wait for Karon to die. She requests her son Gerick to visit while it is still possible.
By chance, visitors also arrive from Gondai. They desperately seek advice from Karon about a woman who has slept for a thousand years under the influence of the evil Lords. The woman, D'Sanya, claims to be a descendant of a ruling family. Before putting her on a throne, however, the people of Gondai want to eliminate some of the concerns they have about her. No-one can put a finger on exactly what the problem is, except that something seems not quite right.
D'Sanya has a healing institute, where at the price of sacrificing their magical powers, people can suspend their illnesses. It is decided that Karon should go to one of her clinics, while his son Gerick tries to figure out D'Sanya.
Of course, things get complicated very quickly. Gerick falls madly in love with D'Sanya. Karon begins to lose his able mind and is of very little use even though he is no longer sick. Seri is unable to go outside at all because as a mundane, people would instantly recognize her in what is a world full of magic.
As Gerick pursues his mission, the past catches up with him. He WAS, after all, one of the Dark Lords himself. Known then as Destroyer, the Lords molded him from childhood in their evil and vile ways. He is recognized by a few former slaves. And more importantly, struggles to put the past successfully behind him: Gerick lives his life in constant fear that the temptation of power will overwhelm his free will.
The story escalates nicely towards the end, when Gerick is the only one to feel that something is very wrong with Gondai's magic. It is up to him, and those very, very few that dare to trust him, to save the world.
Berg covers the story from several perspectives: Gerick mostly, but also Seri, and a new character, Jen. The points of view bring out different shadings of Gondai and the issues. A delight to read, and a real joy of a story.