This is the first book by David Drake I've ever read, and, unfortunately, it will probably be the last. Equally as unfortunate is that I can now no longer trust the judgments of the prominent authors (Piers Anthony, Stephen R. Donaldson, and Terry Goodkind) who gave the glowing reviews that appear in the book and on the cover. As I now re-read their words, I have to wonder we were reading the same story. "Lord of the Isles" can't even come close to the simple poetry of Anthony, the supple plotting of Donaldson, or the heart-pounding action of Goodkind. The book I read had almost no background, no semblence of plot, no cohesive elements of time, and almost no explanation of who the characters were, what they were doing, or why they were doing it. Sometimes the character's conversations with each other didn't make any sense. Sure, there are two or three decent action sequences, but the rest of the plot suffers from the obvious (and silly) contrivances of an author scrambling to get all of his characters to "coincidentally" reuinte. I kept wanting to put the book down and never look back, but I thought I'd give it the benefit of the doubt. By the time I got to the end, I was skipping 5, 8, 10 pages at time, and subsequently realized that I should have saved myself the time. I don't know what book those other authors were recommending, but it couldn't have been "Lord of the Isles."