From Publishers Weekly
War is a tough subject to do well, but in this gritty, moving second and final book in the saga of Tir Tanagiri, British author Walton makes the strife of civil war not only believable but understandable. Battle-hardened, older and wiser after her adventures in The King's Peace (2000), the warrior Sulien ap Gwien has become lord of her own bit of land and wants nothing more than a quiet life. Ill fortune and an evil sorcerer who'd not been dealt with years earlier, however, return her to the saddle and a civil war that could break King Urdo's peace and leave the kingdom a shattered ruin. Brother turns against brother or in this case, sister against sister. The novel opens: "The first I knew about the civil war was when my sister Aurien poisoned me." Sulien survives her poisoning only to wonder why her sister hates her the answer makes her wish she'd remained poisoned. In the end, the cost of battle is felt by every person in the land. No one will ever be the same, especially Sulien ap Gwien. Walton has taken a thoughtful look at what war can do to real people, as a group and as individuals. A nicely paced, unpredictable plot that keeps the reader guessing who might be back-stabbing whom, coupled with musical language and natural conversations, sets this well above the fantasy average. The ambiguous gender of some of the character names may confuse some, but Walton is never stridently feminist, with women and men represented as equally capable of both good and evil. This fine work should garner an award nomination or two.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
The sequel to The King's Peace
(2000) seems to conclude Walton's variation on the Matter of Britain--the tale of King Arthur and his knights. After a decisive victory over warring petty kings and foreign invaders, King Urdo has made peace with them. Now he seeks to bring the motley realm of Tir Tanagiri under the rule of one law, with justice for as many as possible. Some, however, inevitably see a king powerful enough to enforce such a law as a tyrant, and so the realm faces civil war. The narrator, Sulien ap Gwien, a female warrior who plays the role of Lancelot as the king's champion, must gather her forces and ride to battle again. It is a particularly heartbreaking battle this time, as it is fought against friends and kin. The pacing is brisk, the emotional impact great, and the concluding farewell to Sulien doesn't absolutely preclude a third volume about Tir Tanagiri. Not a bad proposition, if and when, for Walton is making page-turners of her take on Arthur's Britain. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved