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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2003
Brilliant page turner that will keep you hooked. To be fair the book has a few dodgy names but ignore that and you have a fantastic book, a story with more twists and turns than I don't know what. Fantastic. And remember with this book not everything is what it seems. My advice would be BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT! You'll be hooked.
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I've been a Marco fan ever since I read his classic Tyrants
and Kings series now he creates all-new epic saga that has all of the ingredientsthat made his previous one so memorable:
flawed heroes like Lukien, the bronze knight who is tore between the loyality and friendship he has toward his King Akeela who treats him like a brother and his love for Akeela's wife Cassandra. King Akeela-a once good ruler who's betrayal by his best friend and wife turns him into a mad despot who seeks only power and revenge! Cassandra-the queen who will turn two men into enemies and who's dying with cancer and can only be saved by a magical amulet called the eyes of God.Marco's gifts of world-building hasn't been lost as he creates a city of so-called freaks who are protected by powerful ancient spirits and
a mysterious woman called Minikin.Marco's villians are also classic like the poor Akeela who's tranformation from a kind man to a cruel king is quite chilling and the evil Will Trager, Lukien's hated rival.What makes the book so powerful is the theme
of choices that people make that can save or destroy them and sometimes even heroes can feet of clay and can do deeds that will haunt them for lifetime.Marco can describe a battle scene in
a cinematic quality and the brief and tragic love affair between Lukien and Casandra will break your heart.I've had read a few reviews stating that Marco is rewriting the Arthurian legend with Lukien as Lancelot, Akeela as Arthur and Casandra as Guinevere but the similarities are few and far between. Other characters I found memorable is crippled boy Gilwyn who helps save the city of Grimhold, the place of "monsters" and the gruff
but brave Baron Thorn.Consider this epic novel another feather in Marco's cap and if he reads the review I have only one thing to say: WRITE FASTER!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2003
Promising reviews, an interesting back-cover blurb and the fact that this is a stand-alone had made me anticipate reading this one with some relish - but as it turns out my optimism was rather misplaced.
Sad to say, this is fantasy fluff, pure and simple. An Arthurian-esque love triangle, some magic amulets, a reforming intellectual-king, and a legendary, hidden community of 'differently-abled' people. None of these elements are particularly original, but early on there are hints that they might be melded together in an entertaining way; and throughout there are interesting developments, such as Cassandra's imprisonment and Akeela's descent into madness. Unfortunately, most of these elements are also given less breathing-space than they need, and thus both plot and character are left under-explored.
While 800 pages ought to be plenty for even a fantasy novel, Marco tries to do too much and consequently short-changes a potentially-intriguing story. However, the (frequently clumsy) writing shows the hallmarks of a new novelist still finding his feet - suggesting that, a few books down the line, Marco may be someone worth trying again.
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