Once again Arithon barely escapes the reach of his emnity-cursed half-brother Lysaer. He hides in the desolate land of Vastmark, making plans to thwart Lysaer's massive army. The Master of Shadow's first move is to capture his enemy's beloved wife.
In the previous books Wurts seemed to be suggesting that Lysaer and Arithon are both good men, who merely misunderstand and misjudge one another because of the Mistwraith's curse. Here, however, she finally seems to admit that Lysaer has been driven insane. It always bothered me that people always believed Lysaer and always distrusted Arithon, but Wurts changes that here as the world at large begins to see the truth. As ever, Wurts' battle scenes are well written and evocative, particularly the bit in the canyon (even if it was a little predictable). However, this book's greatest element is the development of Dakar's character. He slowly changes from the argumentative drunk of the previous books into something much more like a down-to-earth member of the Fellowship. Speaking of which, the sorcerers are presented brilliantly once more. I've always loved the idea of the Seven all having very different characters and yet being completely (well, except for Luhaine and Kharadmon) united by purpose.
Wurts' much maligned overuse of vocabulary may cause some people to struggle through this book once more (personally I don't mind her style in the least). Also, don't be expecting a proper ending to the trilogy. The Wars of Light and Shadow continue in the 'Alliance of Light' subseries, so the ending here is pretty inconclusive. Finally, on a personal note, Jinesse's loss of trust in Arithon really annoyed me. I mean, you don't abandon your friends on the word of a stranger, no matter how persuasive he might be.
on 28 July 2000
After perusing sales rankings and reviews, it would appear that this series has not garnered the audience of some of its peers, such as Jordan's "Wheel of Time," Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire," Hobb's "Liveship Traders," Kerr's "Deverry and Westlands Cycle," Goodkind's "Sword of Truth," or even Feist's "Riftwar Saga." While popularity is not necessary evidence of worth, I suspect, as previous reviewers have noted (see US reviews), both for this work, as well as the preceding volumes, that the author's at times over-exuberant use of language in her writing has contributed as much as anything else to keeping a larger audience at a distance. This is unfortunate, as this ongoing tale, particularly as witnessed by the stirring and tautly rendered battle scenes in this book, has much to offer.
Wurt's strengths are evocative characterizations, complex and multi-layered plotlines and magical realms, and, when not engaged in over-embellishment, vivid and energetic descriptive detail. Unfortunately it is true that the tale at times gets bogged down or muddied by a profuse use of language, and this becomes variously a strength as well as the series' greatest detriment. Nonetheless, I believe there is far more of value going on here than should be dismissed simply because of a difficulty with language.
Perhaps it is because I have become inured to Wurt's tendency to overwork her prose, but it seemed as if in this book she had lightened the flourish of her pen. In any event, for those that have become engaged in the world of Athera, there is much that takes place in this volume, and in a more compressed fashion than in the previous two books. A major revelation occurs, and several of the main characters face trials that will permanently alter their lives. The events build to tension that should keep you reading, and the suspense is handled deftly, keeping the imaginary nerves taut. In many ways I feel this is the best book yet of the series. Highly recommended if you can work past the densely worded use of narrative.
on 16 February 2013
This book; indeed the series; is not perfection, but is it so close as to require the hair of a Mink to define the differences.
Tolstoy, Tolkien, Feist, Jordan, Brooks, Martin, Williams, Elliott - Set the standard.
Janny Wurts meets that standard - In my opinion.
The authors writing is impecable, storyline, prose and charactarisation.
I loved reading this book and the series, it carried me away to a different world, provided me with an escape from the humdrum of life - a good nights sleep.
Faults: Sometimes the the author constructs sentances that stretch to paragraghs, which need to be read twice or thrice to glean the meaning, which can be a real bugger when reading. The only fault I have with this author, is that the author writes a wonderful piece of work, but does not read it back, to ensure quality and ensure a child can understand.
If I wrote a book, I would want all to appreciate it.
Having said this; this author and her books are by far the best; and are set apart from the rubbish that 'Amazon' would want us to buy (Some of which are really awefull).
I love Janny Wurts
Hope you do too ????????????????
on 19 January 2013
I got the first of the series from the library and was instantly hooked both on the world she has created and the main characters. Luckily Santa bought me a Kindle, so far I've downloaded as far as Peril's Gate and have been unable to read anything else. I particularly like the similarities and analogies to our world that she's woven into Atheria then she knocks the breath from you with concepts that are so completely alien. Must go - only part way through book 7. JB
on 20 January 2012
Book arrived promptly, well packaged and print size readable! Real fan of author and this series but took a few pages and some effort to get into this one and I felt there were quite a few 'indulgent' passages which didn't really add anything and interupted the flow and pace un-necessarily - but overall was a thoroughly good read and can't wait to read the next one...