In yet another fine book dealing with the family of Artos of Britain, Elizabeth E. Wein returns to the world of Aksum. This book focuses on the adventures of Telemakos, son of Medraut and nephew of Goewin. He is sent by his aunt into the desert to discover who is behind a deadly streak of smuggling that could endanger the entire country. Telemakos suffers from abuse and loneliness on his mission, and we the readers watch in breathless anticipation, wanting him to succeed yet not quite knowing how he will.
Throughout the story, Telemakos is haunted by his silent father. The young boy is jealous of an uncle he has never known, Lleu the prince of Britan, the reason--as far as we know--for Medraut's utter silence. Slowly the relationship between father and son begins to develop, and it is a pleasure to watch.
Goewin has long been my favorite character in this series, and she holds her own well in this book. Telemakos has a good relationship with his aunt, and she is in the complex position of being his greates helper while placing him in the greatest danger. But she is still magnificent, the bold Goewin we recognize from A Coalition of Lions, yet a little more grown-up too.
This is a moving, intriguing story that gives one a new respect for the determination and resiliency of children, and testifies to the power both of individual strength and family relationships. Best of all, it leaves plenty of room for more--and I, for one, will be first in line for the next installment!