Posted on November 28, 2008 by Flames
Book three of this series has Tavi being sent out of the way (both because of who he is, and to get training) to infiltrate a new legion being created. Since most lord’s have their own legion, a new one was being created to try to serve no political uses. But Tavi is supposed to see if anyone in the legion is in fact a spy. That is what he does since he is a Cursor (also a spy) for the First Lord.
Quickly, things escalate. Lord Kalare, whom has eyes on the First Lord’s throne, launches an attack and starts civil war in the realm. He also kidnaps other high ranking nobles, and holds them prisoner at his fortress. At the same time an ancient enemy known as the Canim also attack the outer edges of the realm. As luck (ha) would have it, Tavi and his legion are the ones that have to slow them down.
Meanwhile, Amara and Bernard are sent to attempt to free the prisoners and have to take the help of their enemy Lady Aquitaine to try to do so. Lastly, Isana is at the empire’s capital, which is under attack. In her hands lies the swordsman that was a lot closer to her than anyone realizes.
This is a great book. Tavi again is stuck in a situation that is beyond his control. He still does not have a fury, but has to find a way to stop the Canim from overrunning the area. His determination and intelligence are the tools that he uses and he quickly figures out a way to play the Canim against each other. This was a bold move since there are factions within them that do not see eye to eye. The amusing part of this was the fact that one of the factions went along with it, therefore using Tavi as well. This was very well handled and shows depth in an already interesting plot.
Tavi wins his men over by doing what a good commander should do. Lead by example. There is nothing he would ask his men that he would not do as well. There are many clever things that he managed to do to trick the more powerful and larger army of Canim. Also having to deal with the fact that he is the only person anyone has ever known, that does not have a fury, is very hard for him.
One of the more interesting sub-plots had to do with his friend Max. He is a power water crafter that is Tavi’s closest friend (other than Kitai, which is turning into MUCH more than Tavi’s friend). Max’s mother and step-brother are also in the legion, and you find out that the woman has been trying to kill Max for a while. She is jealous he could gain more power than her son and has staged many “accidents” for Max in hoping he will eventually die from one. It was a nice twist and a good way to get someone other than Tavi involved in the book.
Amara and Bernard have to work with Lady Aquitaine to rescue Lady Placida from Lord Kalare’s fortress. This is not something they want to do, but the can count on her loyalty since she does not want Kalare to be first Lord (something she wants her husband to be). After that, it is obvious trust cannot go any farther. A lot happened and they eventually did rescue lady Placida. The best part came when the eventual double cross reared its ugly head. Amara knew they would try it, so and she turned the tables on Lady Aquitaine in a very funny manner. Leaving her practically naked, but also making a very powerful enemy.
You do find out some interesting things about Isana. How she was going to marry The First Lord’s son and how she is actually the mother of Tavi. Fade (or an awesome swordsman named Rari) was part of detachment of the Princep (that died at the first battle of Calderon), and he blames himself for letting the Princep die, and also Isana’s sister. That is why he has been hiding as Fade, a slave. It was interesting to see how she fought for his life and how that played out.
Rating. Pushing the cusp of greatness. 9.5 out of 10. Overall, this was a great book. Tavi shows how someone not as powerful as anyone else in the world can make a difference with determination and intelligence. His growing relationship with Kitai is getting interesting, especially when it showed the she can fury craft as well! That stunned me since she is a “barbarian”. Combined with the fact that it was the first time that Tavi actually furycraftyed, it was very well done.
The characters are all growing and the plot is getting better each time. It is a very fast paced novel and one that I would defiantly tell lovers of fantasy to read.
Review by Stacey Chancellor