From Publishers Weekly
In this second book of her Chronicles of Magravandias trilogy, featuring rites of passage, rituals and alternative sexualities used as everyday occurrences of statecraft, British author Constantine (the Wraeththu trilogy) has created a patchwork with no real unity of action, plot or perspective. At the start, soldiers of the invading Magravand, introduced in the first book, brutalize Shan, a young peasant boy. Shan is rescued by a half-human, half-mage, Taropat (aka Khaster), whose lover had earlier suffered a similar fate, and this dark past becomes both a training ground and a flaw in their relationship as Taropat transforms Shan into a worthy assistant. With the Magravand and its vassal kingdoms as background to their adventures, Shan, Taropot the mage and his human host, Khaster, among others, prepare for a quest to recover the Crown of Silence and unseat the Magravand king. Viewpoints shift with no apparent consistency. Each protagonist is "honed in the fires of experience" by homosexual rape, systematic torture or beatings. The tale eventually moves on to a ritual quest to seven lakes, where each quester undergoes a routine of self-discovery marked by tricks and clichs rather than any growth in spirit or knowledge. A successful quest story rests on the uniqueness of its politics, moral questions or characters. This novel falls short of the ideal. Nevertheless, this series is technically superior to most contemporary fantasy series and will be of interest to those who wish to read about politics and sex or who are Constantine fans.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
When the Magravandian armies destroy his village and leave him homeless and brutalized, 14-year-old Shan finds refuge with a mysterious man named Taropat who takes him to his forest home. Taropat teaches Shan the skills of magic and war in order to use the boy as an instrument of revenge and then turns him loose upon the world to discover the secret of a legendary artifact known as the Crown of Silence. As Shan grows in wisdom and cunning, he also learns the secrets of his mentor's past and its connection to his own shattered dreams. This sequel to Sea Dragon Heir continues the tale of Valraven Palindrake, expanding on the lost history of the conquered land of Caradore and bringing new dimensions of complexity to a tormented man and those chosen by fate to cross his path. This solid continuation of a gracefully told epic fantasy makes a good addition to most fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.