on 24 September 2008
Dave Duncan is quite frankly above the rest. Lord of the Fire Lands continues the King's Blades tales started with The Gilded Chain but this is not about Durendal alone anymore. We turn our attention to Wasp and Raider, two Blades about to be bound around the time Durendal was abroad in the first book. When confident Raider refuses to be bound, his loyal not to mention terrified friend Wasp refuses along with him and thus we embark on Raider's story to Ambrose and Wasp about his past. This is largely a tale of Baelmark (remember the savage pirate nation, the Baelish Wars?), the country that Raider (Radgar) is from. As always Duncan is creative with his structure and even though I was a bit unsure of it at first I think it works here. He uses storytelling, which becomes the main narrative, for about half of the book, relating Radgar's past and the leadup to his entering Ironhall. Then we move to the present, when Radgar and Wasp travel to Baelmark.
It is exciting, both in a political and an action-centred way. There is magic and intrigue, swords and monsters and characters that you actually care about as well.
Of course then we come to the twist (don't worry there is a warning about this at the start of the novel, I'm not giving anything major away): the ending contradicts the ending of The Gilded Chain entirely! This is weird at first but I promise you it is sorted out very well in the third book 'Sky of Swords', which is equally worth reading.
Dave Duncan is first-rate and I have rarely read such a treat as Lord of the Fire Lands.