David Eddings has produced a book of class. Although it relies heavily on the reader having knowledge of the previous books, its storyline, characters and humour make it a must read for anybody remotely interested in the fantasy genre.
Carrying on where 'Domes of Fire' left off Sparhawk and his companions have just put down an uprising in the imperial city of Matherion only to be told that it was a ruse by his enemies to reveal his resources. The book starts with the journey to retrieve the Bhelliom, which featured in the previous series of Eddings book, so that Sparhawk can confront his now known enemy Cyrgon- the god of the thought-extinct Cyrgai.
What unravels is a story of betryal from trusted companions, exploration into lands unknown, revelation of emnity between the Styrics and the Shining Ones (The Delphae) and a coup put down in style by the erratic Emperor Sarabian, who is revealed as a great politician rather to the surprise of his subjects and who had called Sparhawk to the continet to help him. Sparhawks queen and wife Ehlana is an integral part of the story and the conclusion of this book will have everyone on the edge of their seat and waiting eagerly for the next installment 'The Hidden City'.
The book is a true classic and is indeed the Eddings finest hour.