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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 17, 2006
In the prior book The Seven Magical Jewels of Ireland, Lord Commander of the Royal Horse (and unwitting time-traveller to an alternate past) Bass Foster was commanded by King Arthur III to join the High King of Ireland and help him unite the warring kingdoms of his country. Almost halfway thru this third installment, he makes it to Ireland and finally meets the High King Brian. Shortly after, it's once more into the breach for Foster and his allies as Robert Adams does what he's done best in the Castaways in Time series: detailing in abundance passages of medieval military campaigns. Somewhere in there, Bass also rescues a princess and gives an undiplomatic dressing down to a monarch. Meanwhile, very slight mention is made of the disappeared group of "projected" people from the second book. And, somewhere in the background, the manipulators of the time machine are still, well, manipulating.

I was hoping that Of Quests and Kings would improve on the last sequel but, alas, it only slightly betters it. The first half of the book is boring, as Adams meanders about, attempting to catch the reader up to his various characters, but without making serious inroads in the storyline. Again, Adams narrates one particular character's backstory in overt detail, to the detriment of the book. I felt my time was wasted reading up on newest unwary time-traveller Rupen Ademian's past, especially since he hasn't even done anything yet to service the current storyline. Oh wait, I guess he serves as the Archbishop of York's confidant (big whoopee). More time instead should've been devoted to main protagonist Bass Foster. For what it's worth, the pace does pick up in the second half.

Here's another quibble: the second book of this series is called The Seven Magical Jewels of Ireland but nowhere in that book was the title at all relevant. I was banging my head on the wall (figuratively, of course), wondering what jewels Adams was referring to. At last, here in the third book, @ page 75 (if you're holding a Signet edition), High King Brian mentions the seven (but actually 8, and even possibly 9) sacred gems, symbols of sovereignty of the various kingdoms of Ireland. The High King means to have each Jewel as a sign of fealty from his warring factions. Methinks The Seven Magical Jewels of Ireland would've been a more apt title for this third book.

Also jarring is Adams' growing inclusion of his characters indulging in multi-paged soliloquies, long-winded inner thoughts that more or less serve a re-cap function. Not to mention, I also don't like the path down which Krystal Kent Foster is heading.

But, as per usual, the book is a medieval antiquarian's delight, as the author continues to lavishly detail life in the 17th century.

The first book Castaways in Time was a riproaring book that I tore thru in one sitting. It held a promise that these two sequels haven't kept. The adventures of Bass Foster and chums continue in the fourth book Of Chiefs and Champions. Is it worth it? I dunno.
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