This review is from: Shout For The Dead: The Acendants of Estorea Book 2: The Ascendants of Estorea Book 2 (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
A Shout for the Dead sees the conclusion of the two-part Ascendants of Estorea. Set ten years after Book 1, the Ascendants are now training and developing the next strand of emergent talent. There is a lot to this book and several storylines and threads develop well but perhaps it was a bit too ambitious and it seems to run out of puff at the end.
Gorian, in isolation from the Ascendancy, has developed the ability to raise the dead. This creates a powerful army that the Tsardon King seeks to utilise, unaware that he is merely a pawn in Gorian's master plan to achieve God-like status. The relationship between Mirron and Paul Jhered develops throughout and the constant battles between the Advocate Herine and the brilliantly over-zealous Felice Koroyan builds the tension up nicely. The sea-borne Ocetanas feature too and the sea battles are well done but all this hints at the complexity and over-ambition.
There is a hint of Troy, Master and Commander, Rome and the Raven about the book. There is a good pace set and the sense of dispair builds cleverly right up until the final pages when for me it ends too quickly and easily as if the book just got too big and had to be stopped. Maybe it should have been a three-book series.
I dont think enough was made of the secretive Sirraneon people. I did wonder if they were going to turn out to be a race of Ascendants themselves. It is a bit odd that Gorian's talent develops so far beyond the other three Ascendants and the emerging Ascendants were a bit of a waste of time.
That said, these are minor irritants in another worthy James Barclay book. His willingness to kill off major characters continues from the Raven books to here (but don't over-do it now James). The Ascendants series is well written and the world of Estorea is portrayed in magnificent detail. I do recommend the series and this book to those that like their Fantasy intelligently written and "believeable" but I preferred the Raven series.