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This is epic fantasy at its best as we reach the middle book of this five book series. I suggest that you start at the beginning With Exile's Return: The First Book of Elita as the books form more of a serial than a series.

There is some excellent writing and some inventive plotting in this installment. Elita is a pseudo-Medieval world complete with evil guilds which control trade and commerce, a king who is greedy, a church which is sidelined and corrupt, and an aristocracy that hides secrets. The biggest secret is the existence of magic, which is now reviled, and a war between the sorcerers and the evil magic users, the Malachi.

Following a number of characters in different locations this book examines how they react as the king clamps down and evil begins to rule. The long-running saga of why Robert and Jenn can't get together does wear a bit thin here as does Robert's self-loathing but they are strong and interesting characters and they behave in a logical and realistic way.

If you like this sort of epic fantasy this is a less well known series but well worth a read.
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on 21 August 2001
After reading the first two in this series, I was a bit worried that this book wouldn't get to the same levels - but boy, it certainly did! There's this lurking sense of fate, and the sheer desperate honesty of people trying to fight something that's so much bigger than them. There's the hero, Robert, and Jenn the woman he doesn't dare to love - and they fight so hard, until they're faced with something they never planned for.
I really like the way Kate Jacoby writes. There's this complex story based on complex people and a situation involved enough to almost be real. This is no fairy tale, and though it would qualify as classic fantasy, there are no monsters and goblins and certainly no talking trees. Instead, there's this sorcery that Robert and his friends have, and there are people who want to destroy them because of it. There are a lot of very adult themes in these books; prejudice, alienation, patriotism and some interesting questions about faith and religion.
But no matter the parts - pulled together, they make one compelling book, and I can't wait for the next to come out.
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on 29 November 2000
I admit, I'd been waiting for this one, and had it on order - but was nervous of actually reading it in case it didn't match my expectations. I can say I was delighted with the reality. This book successfully marries together all the themes travelling through this series, while driving the story forward into areas that are unknown and frightening for the characters. Robert Douglas is finally forced to fight for what he believes in, giving us a battle scene where we are at ground zero. As the story unfolds, you can't help but be involved with the lives of Jenn, Finnlay and Robert and even of the tyrannical king Selar and the evil one they need to destroy, Nash. Once again, Jacoby managed to catch me up in the tale, to the point where I couldn't put the book down. The colours, characters and dilemmas are wholly real. By the end of this book, I felt completely drained, and once more looking forward to the next part in the series.
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