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The Ambassador's Mission (The Traitor Spy Trilogy) Hardcover – May 18, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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The novel begins in Kyralia with Lord Lorkin, the privileged son of Black Mage Sonea, deciding to do something with his life. He volunteers to travel as part of an embassy to Sachaka, a nation who had only recently been at war with his own. Meanwhile, at home his mother Sonea and her old friend Cery the Thief (read - crime lord) find themselves hunting a rogue magician who may be responsible for a series of murders the city.
The Ambassador's Mission (The Traitor Spy Trilogy) is set after the events of Canavan's The Magicians' Guild (The Black Magician Trilogy, Book 1) (and subsequent stand alone novel, The Magician's Apprentice). Fortunately, she offers enough information to fill in what happened in the previous trilogy making it optional though still suggested. Despite having never read any of her previous work, Mission is familiar. For a lover of the fantasy genre it's like putting on an old t-shirt that jogs memories of the good old days. Her story is well paced and clearly written, with characters you can love even if they aren't total believable.
The novel's weakest point is character development. While the characters are well written and interesting, they just aren't very deep. I believe it was Anton Chekhov who said, "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." Canavan falls into the trap of telling how characters feel without showing it. Lorkin and Cery in particular are given a lot of page time without the opportunity to expound on their motivations. They both end up taking rash actions based on emotions explained only in a few paragraphs and not very well.
Compared to so much of the fantasy that's coming out today, Mission is very young adult. There's no strong language and only one very vague sex scene. Moreover the novel is not densely plotted. Things happen in a pretty straight forward manner and the foreshadowing is not convoluted. This shouldn't be read as a criticism, just a point of fact. I found myself comparing Canavan's style quite favorably to James Barclay's Chronicles of the Raven. Although Barclay writes a slightly more adult (bloody) novel, the pacing and character development are quite similar.
This first book in the trilogy is in many ways a long form prologue. Little action graces the pages. Most of the story centers around the politics in both nations setting the stage for what promises to be a far more eventful second and third installment. There is nothing new or unexpected here yet Canavan does the expected expertly. The Ambassador's Mission is perfect for a plane ride, a beach, or in between difficult reads. I would not recommend it before bed as the clock is likely to speed by as quickly as the pages.
The story was good--maybe not quite as involved as the BMT, but still made me want to keep reading.
Unfortunately, the Kindle formatting for this book was lacking. There were at least a half-dozen points in the book where Canavan was switching to a different character, and the Kindle format had no delineation. I imagine that the printed book contained at least several blank lines to indicate a different section, but the Kindle format had no space--it just switched characters between paragraphs, and always interrupted the flow of the story for me.
I would have rated the story as 4 stars, but felt the poor formatting by the publisher (or whoever formatted this book) made the overall product lose a star for me.
A complete disappointment. Its as though there was really nothing to write about or go forward with. The same characters squeezed to give more juice.
I would not venture into this new trilogy after the magic i was shown with the lack magician trilogy.
Don't expect much if you do read it anyway.
Top international reviews
I did not get that.
All three books could have been condensed down to one slightly longer book. The characters were one-dimensional, the plot was to be honest, quite predictable. At best it was 'ho-hum' and at its worst it was boring. How it got the ratings shown, I can only imagine. It could be that there are lots of readers out there who are so happy to read more into this great magical world, they will praise mediocre stuff like this because it is all there is.
This, and the other two, are not good books. They take a good idea and stretch it to fit a new scenario.
I wasted my money, please don't waste yours.
The book is refreshing in that it does not follow a young girl discovering her uncontrolled magical powers like all the ones before but that it simply develops along a different path - that of bringing readers up to date on the events in Immardin (with mainly Sonea, Regin and Cery), as well as of exploring Sachaka in more depth with Dannyl and Lorkin, who opens a door to the mysterious Traitors briefly alluded to in the original trilogy.
While neither the world, nor the concepts appear world shattering, the author manages a good pace with a reasonably straightforward plotline and makes a competent addition to the first trilogy, without requiring readers to remember all the details of the earlier books like Tom Lloyd does with his series (i.e. The Ragged Man: Book Four of The Twilight Reign), while still allowing the ones who do a slightly better understanding.
Lorkin is a fairly likeable new character, and there is still some guessing involved in what relationship the old characters will have 20 years later and whether it should be one of trust or not.
Overall a fairly mature effort and a good book to read - even if we are not speaking of a revolutionary reworking of the genre.
The two main events in this book are Sonea's son being kidnapped in Sachaka, and a mysterious magically-endowed murder picking the Thieves off one by one. Sounds interesting but personally it didn't live up to my expectations. It may be twenty years after the end of The High Lord, but the lack of some details was a little disappointing....
Firstly I don't know about anyone else, but after being caught up in the development of their feelings for eachother and the drama at the end of The High Lord, it seemed the author skimmed over any mention of Akkarin or how Sonea's grief affected her development/acceptance. While the author's description of the Guild's progress/changes were good I felt I wasn't as emotionally invested in certain characters.
Secondly for myself, the pacing was little off too. While I like that the story was told from many viewpoints I found myself wondering when one was going to end and the other begin - something that didn't happen in The Black Magician. I still enjoyed the read though.
On the plus side, the amount of detail and context provided about Sachaka was great - the society in terms of masters, slaves and non-magicians and the links to ancient magic provide new and interesting angles to be explored. The fact that the prequel allows us to know how the wastelands were created and unravel the mysteries that are Storestones, seeing how the character's in Ambassador's Mission come close to discovering these keeps things interesting.
All in all, an alright read, I probably will read the rest of the series but not as good as The Black Magician! 3/5
I am sorry to say that I was disappointed by this book. It is well written, but it just didn't capture me in at all the same way as the previous trilogy. I didn't come to care about the characters very much, and the big "who is the rogue?" question seemed obvious for most of the book so the grand unveiling towards the end came as no surprise. I also felt that the characters and stories didn't mesh together all that well, and some of their motivations and decisions didn't make a lot of sense.
The story continues with The ambassador's mission
Not as exciting as the Black Magician Trilogy - plots take a long time to play out. Some points feel a little bit laboured.
I still found this a hugely enjoyable read.
About halfway through I was absolutely hooked ....again. Love Trudi Caravan
I enjoyed the book and the series.
My favorite author, on a par with her previous books.