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A Satisfying Conclusion to a Great Fantasy Adventure
on February 8, 2008
This book concludes the story of Valen, begun in _Flesh and Spirit_, and is as surprising, action-packed and satisfying as the first. You should probably begin with the first book which starts out strong. Valen is a difficult hero; tortured by addiction, he's had a childhood so grim that being a renegade, thief and soldier is a pleasant change. The book opens with him running from the army with fellow deserters who leave him wounded in the mud and weather on the roadside. He's taken in by a local monastery that shelters a mystery. In the meantime, battles wage between princes vying for the throne and the fanatic Harrowers whose aim is to cleanse the earth, all causing death, famine and misery.
In this installment, Valen has been recaptured by the society and family who despise him. He's one of the Pureblood Sorcerers, but has never been able to learn spells or read or abide the extremely confined lifestyle he was expected to lead. His services are sold to Osriel, The Bastard, the third Prince, who is known for his dark sorcery and for the taking of the eyes of the dead... There are secrets upon secrets, of course, and things are gradually revealed all through this book. Is Osriel a demon or the savior of the realm? Will the Cabal of the Lighthouse succeed in saving some knowledge in the Dark Ages that threaten the land if the kingdom is not settled and if the Harrowers succeed with their goals? Will the mysterious magical creatures, the Danae, whose land is also dying, aid one side or other? Will Valen survive to figure out what his destiny will be--failed, addicted sorcerer or a force for good?
There are a fine cast of characters with great histories and destinies to determine. There are plot twists galore. Treachery and conspiracies, and plots for good and evil. It was all good reading, compelling and exciting with memorable people, places and societies. I would definitely recommend both of these books.