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Lord of the Silent Kingdom (Instrumentalities of the Night) Paperback – Bargain Price, August 17, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
The elaborately wrought second installment (after 2005's Tyranny of the Night) in Cook's dark military fantasy saga promotes Piper Hecht—previously known as Else Tage before he vanquished an immortal foe—to the rank of captain-general under Emperor Sublime V. While Piper staves off the menace of the Tyranny of the Night, which is slowly freezing the lands around the Mother Sea, he also battles the Patriarchs, stubborn in their opposition to imperial rule. Cook ups the intrigue when Piper discovers a necromancer lurking among his supposedly trustworthy allies, while a prophet thought long dead reappears and allies himself with the captain-general. The lovely and intelligent Anna Mozilla warms Piper's bed and heart when he's not occupied with magical and military threats. Though Cook makes few concessions to new readers, his fans will enjoy the sword fights and potent magic, all motivated by complex religious and political power struggles. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Tyranny of the Night is freezing the lands around the Mother Sea, endangering all humans but hardly stopping the endangered from fighting one another. Anne of Menard is funding the Patriarchs' armies against Sublime V to prevent Grail Empire expansion. Sublime V captain-general Piper Hecht (formerly Else Tage; see The Tyranny of the Night, 2005) discovers a necromancer among supposed allies and a 100-year-old prophet alive and inclined to support him. In his free time, Hecht raises children, struggles with convoluted Grail Empire policies, and tries to figure out what the old gods want and how to counter it. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This is a fabulously complex entirely new world: new rules, new magic, new "gods" same old deal for soldiers. He is so good at weaving great human characters. Soldiers you would want at your back, or drinking with you at a rowdy bar. Villains you wouldn't leave alone with your dog. All caught up in huge swirling events that draw out the best in the good and the worst in the bad. But sometimes which is who is hard to see. He is great at showing the good in the bad but competent, and the foibles of the heroes with feet of clay. Cynicism abounds. Politicians are always seen with the jaundiced eys of the long since disillusioned.
Another great hero in Piper Hecht. An indomitable man who just wishes everybody would just leave him the hell alone, but of course they won't.
That's why this is so much fun. This is not a predictable same old same tale. Don't turn your back on anyone!
Once again Cook draws you into his world and once again it is something to behold.
The main character, Else Tage/Piper Hecht is a solid, no-nonsense leader who is caught up in a whirlwind of political and ethical challenges. The reader is drawn along as he confronts these problems and is shaped by influences that come into his life. It's neat because the evolution of the man makes sense as he goes through some of the shocks and adapts as his pragmatic personality leads him to.
Magic, the Church, political motivations, religious persecution, corrupt politicians and dithering nobles make up a pantheon of different characters that we are exposed to. Cook doesn't spend much time developing characters who won't stick around very long, but he does give them enough depth to make sense. It adds a level of complexity to the writing that is often missing in other books.
My favorite part of the story is the way that Cook allows his pragmatic hero to react to, adapt to and overcome the obstacles to his different missions. It's refreshing to hear someone think along logical lines as they figure out how to accomplish a military mission. Many of the details of the operation are obstructed from us, but that's not a bad thing since it keeps the minutiae from crowding out the story.
On the whole I strongly recommend Lord of the Silent Kingdom as a worthy addition to the series. Cook has done a decent job of keeping the story moving forward and developing the characters who are essential without bogging us down with more information and personalities than would be essential. Good stuff.
This is the perfect follow up to the second half of the 1st book.